The Philadelphia Phillies have reached the midpoint of the season with the exact same record as a year ago. Unlike last season, though, the club is looking up in the standings.
After winning the first game in an important series with NL East-leading Atlanta, the Phillies again look to tighten the division race when they meet the Braves on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia (43-38) had a two-game lead atop the East at the halfway point of the 2009 season en route to its third consecutive division title, but it finds itself in third place this year. Although the All-Star break is still a week away, this is undoubtedly a crucial series for the Phillies, who don’t want to fall any further out of first.
Philadelphia, which entered this series with four losses in five games, cut into Atlanta’s lead with a 3-1 victory Monday, moving within four games of the Braves (48-35).
Dobbs, called up from the minors last week when Chase Utley(notes) and Placido Polanco(notes) went on the disabled list, is making the most of his opportunity, going 5 for 15 with three RBIs in four games this month.
“I feel good about my swing,” Dobbs said. “Seeing pitches on a daily basis helps. I feel confident. I feel in a rhythm.”
The Phillies have lost six of Hamels’ last seven starts after winning his previous five. In Thursday’s 3-2 loss in Pittsburgh, the left-hander allowed three runs and five hits while striking out eight in seven innings.
Hamels has fared well against the Braves in Philadelphia, though, going 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA in his last seven starts.
This will be his first start against Atlanta since getting only two outs at Turner Field on June 1 before coming out because of a one-hour, four-minute rain delay. He gave up a three-run homer to Troy Glaus(notes) before the rains struck.
Jones hit his sixth homer Monday for the Braves, who have lost back-to-back games after winning six of eight.
After spending two months on the DL with a hamstring injury, Jurrjens allowed one run and six hits in five innings of Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Washington. The right-hander struck out six with two walks in his first start since April 29.
“I thought he would pitch good, but not like he always did, the very first time out,” manager Bobby Cox told the Braves’ official website. “I didn’t have a read on it. He was the same old ace. Just overpowering.
“He’s got a great future ahead of him the rest of the year. I know that.”
This will be Jurrjens’ first start of the season against the Phillies after going 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts against them last year.