The Braves head to Citizens Bank Park this week riding high, having won 10 of their past 12 games and 16 of 21 since the All Star break. Further, the Braves have swept their last two series against the Phils, so expectations are high for Atlanta to start the series.
The Phillies come into this series as winners of 12 out of 21 since the All Star break, but trending in the other direction. A sweep at the hands of Atlanta the last weekend in July convinced the Phillies that they wouldn't compete this year, and lead to a firesale. Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton were all shipped out, with Victorino and Blanton headed to the Dodgers while Pence went to the Giants.
John Mayberry Jr. replaced Victorino in center, while Nate Schierholtz, acquired from San Francisco in the Pence trade, took Pence's place in right. Top prospect Domonic Brown was called up to play left field. Brown had a cup of coffee in 2010, and had 210 PAs in 2011, but didn't exactly light the world on fire, hitting .245/.333/.391. He's had a decent season in AAA this year, posting a line of .286/.335/.432, but some of the luster has definitely worn off.
Schierholtz, who spent a decent amount of time in right field for the Giants, bring a .253/.319/.421 line to the Phillies, good for 0.6 WAR. While the new-look Phillies outfield should definitely not be overlooked, it certainly packs less punch than the outfield we saw the last time we met the Phils.
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins are practically the only lineup consistencies from the last series. Kevin Frandsen is still manning 3rd for the injured Placido Polanco, and the duo of Brian Schneider and Eric Kratz have taken over catching duties for Carlos Ruiz, who is out for at least a month with plantar fasciitis.
Kyle Kendrick has taken Joe Blanton's spot in the rotation, but the rest of Phillies killer starting 5 remains intact. Pitching matchups after the jump.
Monday, August 10, 7:05 PM EST
Tuesday, August 7, 7:05 PM EST
Wednesday, August 8, 7:05 PM EST