(SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Harang will try to get his new team on track against his former ballclub on Friday night when the Philadelphia Phillies begin a three-game set with the Atlanta Braves.
The veteran Harang spent his 14th major league season last year with the Braves, going 12-12 with a 3.57 earned run average over 33 starts, the most he had made in a season since 2007. He is 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA in 11 career starts against Atlanta.
With the Phillies rebuilding and needing a veteran arm to eat up innings, they signed the 36-year-old to a one-year, $5 million contract this past offseason.
Harang has done just that, throwing a quality start in each of his first three outings while going 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA. He is coming off a 5-3 win over Washington on Saturday, with the righty yielding three runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings with six strikeouts.
He'll try to help Philadelphia avoid a third straight loss and will hope the defense can improve behind him. The Phillies made three errors that led to five unearned runs in Wednesday's 6-1 setback to the Miami Marlins, then committed another two miscues in dropping yesterday's finale of the three-game set 9-1.
"We have to tighten up the defense," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "We can't afford to make mistakes."
Philadelphia has lost nine of its past 11 games overall.
The Braves counter their former teammate with the 24-year-old Alex Wood, who after winning his season debut has posted a pair of no-decisions. That includes Saturday's outing versus Toronto in which he logged 6 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on nine hits and two walks. Wood did not strike out a batter either after having fanned seven in his previous outing.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in nine games (4 starts) versus the Phillies.
The Braves have lost six of their past eight, recently swept in a three-game series by the red-hot New York Mets. Atlanta saw its hurlers struggle with control in Thursday's 6-3 loss, with five pitchers combining for eight walks.
Starter Julio Teheran walked five over 4 1/3 innings. He walked the bases loaded in the first inning before yielding a three-run double and setting the tone for the afternoon.
"They have a pretty good combination going right now," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez of the Mets. "Their starters don't give up walks. They throw strikes. Their run differential is unbelievable."
The Braves were 11-8 versus the Phillies last season, going 8-2 in Philadelphia.