After a 4-6 road trip, the Atlanta Braves return home to begin what they hope will be a final sprint to a playoff berth. The Braves hold the top spot in the National League wild-card race, and face teams above .500 in just six of their final 31 contests. The Philadelphia Phillies are 62-69 coming into a three-game weekend set at Turner Field, but have won eight of their past 12 and would love nothing more than to spoil the Braves’ postseason plans again. The Phillies swept Atlanta in the final series of last season, finishing off the Braves’ epic collapse.
Injuries and subpar performances have torpedoed Philadelphia’s hopes of repeating in the NL East. Friday’s starter, Roy Halladay, is hot of late but still enduring one of the worst seasons of his career. Atlanta starter Mike Minor nearly was demoted to the minors in mid-summer, but has turned his season around the past two months. Atlanta hopes returning home will ignite an offense that scored two runs or less in five of its past 10 contests.
Phillies Braves Betting
When: 7:35 PM ET, Friday, August 31, 2012
Where: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: 7:35 p.m. ET, CSN (Philadelphia), Peachtree TV (Atlanta).
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88 ERA) vs. Braves LH Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71).
Halladay will need a strong September to avoid his lowest win total since posting 12 victories in 2005, but he has looked more like his old self in the past few weeks. The veteran right-hander is 4-1 in August with a 2.75 ERA in five outings – after winning just four of his first 14 starts. Halladay has struggled in two 2012 starts against Atlanta, going 0-1 and surrendering 11 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings.
Minor has not allowed more than three earned runs in his past nine starts. He is 1-1 in two starts against the Phillies in that span, holding Philadelphia to four hits in eight innings in a victory July 28 at Atlanta. The left-hander is 3-4 with a 2.50 ERA since July 1, with 42 strikeouts and eight walks. The Braves scored four runs in those four losses.
1. Philadelphia SS Jimmy Rollins’ day ended early Thursday. Rollins did not run out a dropped pop-up in the sixth inning and was benched by manager Charlie Manuel.
2. The Braves lead the season series 9-3 and have won eight of their past nine against the Phillies.
3. Philadelphia LHP Cole Hamels, who was scratched from Wednesday’s start with a stomach virus, will start Sunday’s series finale.