The Atlanta Braves enter September in good position to make a run at a wildcard spot and the playoffs. They start the final month with the Philadelphia Phillies who aren't very good and have nothing to play for though they have been playing a little better of late. The Phillies actually finished August with their first winning month of the season though this is still a team the Braves should expect to pick up a series win against.
The series starts with a day game in honor of Labor Day. The game features a matchup between both teams best pitchers in Julio Teheran and Cole Hamels. Hamels is having another excellent season with a 2.59 ERA though the Phillies inept offense rarely supports him. Hamels is a longtime Braves killer and Teheran should make short work of the Phillies shallow lineup. Add in this being a day game and this one has all the marking of a 1-0 two hour game. Hopefully the Braves are the team that connects with the one run.
Game two of the series features the suddenly resurgent Mike Minor and Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick is having an awful season though he has a lower career ERA at Turner Field than any other park. Kendrick is like the pitching version of Ryan Howard, bad overall but somehow at the top of his game vs Atlanta. Though it should be noted the Braves got to Kendrick the last time they saw him. Minor has been excellent since the Braves skipped him in the rotation and count me as fully in the Mike Minor is back camp. The Braves should win this game easily unless Kendrick's strange voodoo over the Braves returns.
Game three of the series features David Buchanan and Ervin Santana in a pitching matchup that strongly favors the Braves. Santana has been outstanding almost all season with the exception of the month of May. Santana has a 3.29 FIP this season which is tied for the lead amongst Braves starters (with Alex Wood). Buchanan has had a pretty blah rookie campaign for the Phillies and the Braves should be favored in this game. The Phillies offense is nothing special at all and the Braves offense performs better at home. Game one is a tricky one because it features Hamels but the Braves should look to keep pace in the battle for a chance to play in the stupid game or as MLB calls it the Wildcard game.