September 23, 2012 at 11:59 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Braves lineup: Reed Johnson (CF), Martin Prado (3B), Jason Heyward (RF), Freddie Freeman (1B), Dan Uggla (2B), Jeff Baker (LF), David Ross (C), Andrelton Simmons (SS), Tim Hudson (P).
Phillies lineup: Jimmy Rollins (SS), Juan Pierre (LF), Chase Utley (2B), Ryan Howard (1B), Carlos Ruiz (C), Domonic Brown (RF), John Mayberry (CF), Kevin Frandsen (3B), Cliff Lee (P).
Game 3 vs. Phillies
The Braves won with authority Saturday as Freddie Freeman and Jason Heyward combined for six runs driven in against Roy Halladay in one inning alone, and Halladay was knocked out in the second shortest start of his career, evening up the series.
The rubber match features Cliff Lee and Tim Hudson. While the Braves might be getting to Halladay this season, they still have plenty of troubles against Lee. He is approaching 200 innings for the fourth straight full season, recording a 3.27 ERA and 3.12 FIP. His emergence as a high-profile strikeout pitcher in 2010 has continued this year, sporting a 24.1% strikeout rate while maintaining a 3.7% walk rate.
Everything about Lee has remained in line with his four-season trends except home runs allowed, which has been upped to 1.04 HR/9 this year. He owns a career 8.5% HR/FB rate, but it’s at 11.5% this season. The trends say it’s a mini-fluke, and with Lee’s pitch usage staying the same, I would tend to agree. Best bet is his home run total will return closer to his career mark sooner than later.
Hudson has been a bit up and down lately, which could be the result of September fatigue effecting his sinker command. He gave up four runs in five innings last time out, including no walks and no strikeouts, against the Marlins.
Hudson gave up just four home runs through his first 15 starts but has seven allowed in his last 11 outings. As I said, best bet is tiredness with age slowly creeping up in these fatigue months, but Hudson has still had his solid starts over the past couple months.
Braves.com recap for Saturday’s win.
AJC quotes following Saturday’s win. Fredi Gonzalez on Roy Halladay: “He’s not the same Halladay I’ve seen. I don’t know if it’s that scapula or shoulder blade, but he didn’t look the same the last couple of times we’ve faced him. Nevertheless, he’s probably gotten us more than we’ve gotten him.”
In case you missed it yesterday, the Braves aligned their rotation so Kris Medlen can start the wild card game. Medlen will start Tuesday at home against the Marlins, Paul Maholm will be switched to Wednesday and Tommy Hanson should start Thursday.
The Braves felt Andrelton Simmons needed one more day on Saturday, and he is in the lineup today.
Hanson will remain in the rotation. Meanwhile, if Fredi decides to give Hudson extra rest, he could start one of Ben Sheets, Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado down the stretch. One would think Sheets might get that call if it happens, considering Teheran and Delgado haven’t pitched in a game in weeks.
Ken Rosenthal reports the Braves tried to acquire Greg Dobbs from the Marlins at the trade deadline.
Around the NL East
Because of milestones and whatnot, Gio Gonzalez became the first 20-game winner in the majors this season. More importantly, his 200 strikeouts is the highest total for a Washington pitcher since Walter Johnson in 1916.
Bob Brookover’s interpretation of the Phillies’ 2013 plans: “Listen to manager Charlie Manuel, and you can envision a team with Chase Utley at third base, Freddy Galvis at second base, a big-ticket free agent playing center field, and at least one quality free-agent addition to the bullpen.”
Mets reliever Frank Francisco is battling elbow tendinitis.