National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 18
(All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (42-53) at Atlanta Braves (52-43), 7:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - A.J. Burnett (6-8, 3.83)
Atlanta - Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.01)
(SportsNetwork.com) - While the rest was certainly welcomed, the Atlanta
Braves hope that the All-Star break didn't cool off their awaking offense.
The Braves eye up a third straight victory on Friday night as they begin a
three-game series with the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Following a 1-5 stretch in which they were held to four runs or fewer in each
game, the Braves plated 21 runs over the weekend in a pair of wins over the
Third baseman Chris Johnson was at the front of the surge, notching five hits,
three homers and seven RBI in the two wins.
The back-to-back wins allowed Atlanta to head into the break in a virtual tie
with the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East and the club will
look to snap that stalemate in the opener of an 11-game homestand.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, lost its final two games following a five-game
winning streak and sits nine games under .500 as well as 10 games back of
Washington and Atlanta for first place.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins entered the All-Star break on a five-game hitting
streak for the Phillies, going 7-for-21 with three homers, seven RBI and six
Rollins will try to extend that streak against Atlanta righty Ervin Santana,
who was denied a third straight winning start with a 4-1 loss at the New York
Mets on July 9. He was touched for four runs on six hits and two walks over
Santana is 7-6 with a 4.01 earned run average on the season and the 31-year-
old holds a lifetime mark of 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts versus the
Philadelphia opens this set with 37-year-old veteran A.J. Burnett on the
mound. He went 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA in the first half, snapping a three-game
winless drought (0-2) with a 6-2 win over Washington last Friday.
Burnett allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over 7 2/3 frames,
striking out six while notching his seventh straight outing of allowing three
earned runs or fewer.
"Burnett has been a steady force, he's been a leader, he's been a veteran guy,
he's been a workhorse. He really seems to be getting better, pitching quality
games and continuing to do that," said Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg.
The right-handed Burnett is 5-12 with a 3.90 ERA in his career versus the
Braves, getting a no-decision in the lone previous meeting this season back on
April 17. He hurled seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball.
The Phillies recorded a three-game sweep in Atlanta from June 16-18, but the
Braves responded by taking all four meetings of a set in Philadelphia in late
June to take a 6-4 lead in the season series.
07/18 10:38:42 ET