Now, they’ll give the ball to perhaps their most highly touted prospect.
Atlanta (19-15) ranks among the best in baseball with a 2.86 ERA, surprisingly lower than the 3.09 mark compiled by Philadelphia, which boasts a rotation that includes Cliff Lee(notes), Roy Halladay(notes), Roy Oswalt(notes) and Cole Hamels(notes).
The Braves have been even better lately, posting a 1.67 ERA while winning six in a row for the club’s longest streak since a nine-game run May 26-June 3.
They haven’t allowed an earned run in three consecutive games for the first time since April 15-18, 1997.
The Phillies (21-10), the four-time reigning NL East champions, have a 4.00 ERA over the past three games - two wins.
Atlanta outpitched Philadelphia on Friday, as Derek Lowe(notes) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up two hits and exiting prior to recording an out in a 5-0 win. Lowe’s performance was shortened due to a blister on his foot and came opposite Lee, who took the loss despite striking out a career-high 16.
Julio Teheran now gets his chance to keep the Braves rolling. He’ll be making his debut in a spot start in order to keep Tim Hudson(notes) or Tommy Hanson(notes) from going on short rest after Jair Jurrjens(notes) was moved back to Sunday.
One of the Braves’ top pitching prospects, the 20-year-old Colombian right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Gwinnett this season, striking out 25 with eight walks while limiting opponents to a .118 batting average.
“I’m excited,” catcher Brian McCann(notes) told the team’s official website. “Any time you get to see your top prospect - someone you have been reading about for three years - you’re going to be looking forward to it and feeling some excitement.”
Kendrick has been used exclusively out of the bullpen, making eight appearances after going 11-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 33 games - 31 starts - last year.
The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 11 games - nine starts - versus Atlanta.
It’s unclear if the Phillies will have Placido Polanco(notes) available after he left the series opener with a bruised right big toe. X-rays were negative, but Philadelphia could be without its leading hitter (.374).
Atlanta’s Martin Prado(notes) went 2 for 5 with an RBI on Friday and is batting .348 with a homer, nine RBIs and six runs during a 10-game hitting streak. Prado owns a .364 average with six home runs and 18 RBIs over his last 35 games against the Phillies, and he’s 5 for 8 versus Kendrick.