Atlanta (69-87) at Philadelphia (88-68)

Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Sep 22, 2008
  • TV: PTV, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies are beginning to pull away in the NL East, thanks partly to their dominance against the Atlanta Braves.

Trying to extend their lead in the division, the Phillies look to win their sixth straight game against the Braves when the teams open a three-game series Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia (88-68) has won nine of its last 10 games, opening a 1 1/2-game lead over the New York Mets in the East after beating Florida 5-2 on Sunday.

“We have been playing really well, playing our best baseball going into the postseason,” said Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who has earned saves in all 40 of his chances this season. “We still have some work to get there, but it’s a good sign for a team when you’re playing hot at the end of the season.”

The Phillies have six games remaining, three against a Braves team they have dominated this season.

Philadelphia leads the season series 13-2, its most wins against Atlanta (69-87) in a single season. Last week, the Phillies swept a three-game series at Turner Field to finish the season 9-0 there, becoming the first team to sweep a season series longer than four games in Atlanta.

“It would be nice to go up there and get some revenge,” Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur told the team’s official Web site.

Francoeur and Atlanta will be trying to avoid their second straight loss against J.A. Happ (1-0, 4.24 ERA).

Happ pitched six scoreless innings in Philadelphia’s 6-1 over Atlanta on Wednesday night, winning his first career decision in his first appearance against the Braves.

Happ allowed three hits, walked one and struck out two in his fourth career start and first since July 9 in Philadelphia’s 4-2 win over St. Louis.

The 25-year-old left-hander, who has replaced struggling Kyle Kendrick in the rotation, was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the third time this season on Sept. 1. He improved to 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA in three career starts.

He’ll have a good opportunity to earn another win if Philadelphia can continue its success at the plate versus Atlanta. The Phillies have averaged 6.6 runs in their last 11 games against the Braves, batting .308 and hitting 22 home runs.

Philadelphia right fielder Jayson Werth is batting .415 (17-for-41) with two home runs in 14 games against Atlanta this season, but enters this game in a 1-for-14 slump.

He’ll try to end his struggles as the Phillies face Jair Jurrjens (13-10, 3.72), who is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia.

Jurrjens, though, is 2-2 with a 6.60 ERA in his last six outings. The 22-year-old right-hander matched up with Happ on Wednesday, giving up four runs and five hits while walking five in five innings.

Atlanta was able to overcome a poor effort from starting pitcher James Parr in a 7-6 win over the Mets on Sunday.

Chipper Jones, who leads the majors with a .362 batting average, did not start for the second straight game because of tendinitis in his right shoulder. He drew an intentional walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning.

“I want to be out there playing, but I’m not healthy,” said Jones, who hopes to play Monday. “I can’t do what I’m supposed to be doing on the field right now.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Jurrjens Col vs. J. Happ Pit
13-10 Record 1-0
3.68 ERA 3.69
139 K 26
70 BB 14
1.37 WHIP 1.33


Monday, Sep 22