This week we finally get to face some NL East teams, after having been mired in West and Central teams since the start of the season. The Phillies come to town as the top dog in the East, but having lost two in a row to the Marlins, games in which their offense was shutdown by good pitching. This series should also feature some good pitching, here are the matchups:
Tuesday: Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 17.47) vs. Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.38)
Two of Hanson's four losses last year came at the hands of the Phillies. One was a rain-shortened game, and the other was perhaps his worst game of the year, in which he surrendered 4 runs on 4 walks and 7 hits in 5 innings. Both games were 4-to-2 losses, so Hanson certainly didn't get much run support in either game. Kyle Kendrick has actually done pretty well against the Braves in his career. He is 4-and-1 lifetime with a 3.29 ERA, including a win last year in a four-inning relief stint. Hanson will have his hands full, and so will the Braves in this game.
Wednesday: Roy Halladay (3.0, 1.13) vs. Tim Hudson (1.0, 2.84)
We all remember the dominant game that KK had against Halladay last year, matching him virtually pitch for pitch. KK actually outlasted Halladay in that game and the Braves got their run against a reliever. Roy will likely be just as good this year, so we're going to have to figure out a way to score off of him (as this likely won't be the last time we face him this season), and Hudson will need to hold the Phillies scoreless as long as possible. Huddy has a losing record lifetime against Philadelphia (4-6), but a respectable 3.79 ERA. He lost once to them last year in a well-pitched game, and got a no-decision the year before in another superb game. So it looks like Huddy has the track record that says he can hold them close, once again it will be up to the Braves offense.
Thursday: Jamie Moyer (1-1, 7.50) vs. Derek Lowe (3-0, 4.67)
We all know the season that Derek Lowe has had. We also need to remember that he shutout the Phillies on 2 hits in last season's opening game. He picked up another win later in the season. One thing seems certain this year, and that is that the Braves offense comes to play when Lowe is on the mound. Let's see if they can keep up the run support against Moyer. He's been a mixed bag against Atlanta, but mostly bad, which is good for us. Thursday's start will the 700th of Moyer's career. He might be the only guy still playing who faced the Braves before 1991.
This should be a fun series. Hopefully the Braves keep their series wins going. If they do win the series, they have a chance to share first place in the division with Philadelphia, but it's probably too early in the season to be scoreboard watching like that.