After losing a disappointing game being played under protest, the Phils return home for a big matchup with the wild card leading Atlanta Braves. These two teams are playing each other for the first time since mid-July, when the Phils took two out of three. Overall, the Phils and Braves have faced each other 12 times this season, with both teams winning six games. The Braves are safely in the lead for the NL Wild Card, 8.5 games ahead of the Cardinals. As for the Phillies, they hold a 7.5 game lead over Atlanta heading into the series and will play them six times. The Phillies are coming off of a road trip where they went 5-2 and Atlanta is playing .500 baseball over their last ten games. This series is definitely a big one, but it may not be as big as the one on September 26-28 at Turner Field. The Phils will throw Lee, Worley and Oswalt to the mound while Atlanta will counter with Lowe, Hudson and Beachy. Should be an interesting series to say the least, so let’s take a look at tonight’s pitching matchup…
Derek Lowe: 9-12, 4.52 ERA
In his last time on the mound against Washington, Lowe gave up just one run over six innings of work. He is 5-9 with a 4.47 ERA away from Turner Field and 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA at Citizens Bank Park this season. Lowe has given up four or less hits in three of his last six starts and is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA over his last three outings. Opponents are hitting .271 against him while the Phillies, as a team, are hitting .242. They have seen a lot of Lowe since he moved to Atlanta and also when he was with the Dodgers. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez have the most at-bats against Lowe with 45 a piece but have .222 and .153 average respectively. Ibanez does have two homers off of him though. Chase Utley, who has been quiet as of late, is hitting .394 against Lowe with two homers in 33 at-bats. Pence is .429 in 14 at-bats with a homer as well. Lowe is 8-5 with a 3.07 ERA lifetime against the Phils.
Cliff Lee: 15-7, 2.59 ERA
Cliff is on one of his ridiculously awesome stretches at this point in the season. In August, he finished with a 5-0 record and a slender 0.45 ERA. He came within one out of throwing a shutout his last time against the Reds but was pulled with two outs in the ninth. He is 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA lifetime against the Braves and is 0-2 this season with a 4.91 ERA. It is worth noting that Lee is 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA at home this year and went eight innings against the Braves in a no-decision back in July. He gave up just one run and struck out nine in a 4-1 Phils loss. The Braves have a .277 team average against Lee. Alex Gonzalez has the most at-bats against Cliff with 22 and has a .364 average with a homer and four RBI’s. Brian McCann has a .417 average over 12 plate appearances against Lee. Cliff was 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA last September and will look to continue his hot hand on the mound after winning his past six starts. Over that span, his ERA has dropped from 3.14 to 2.59.