Braves-Phillies Preview

The other shoe finally fell in the Cole Hamels saga, though the Philadelphia Phillies will likely have to wait for the return to begin bearing fruit.

It remains to be seen if the Atlanta Braves follow suit in shipping off assets before Friday's trade deadline.

The last-place Phillies and plummeting Braves open a four-game series Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.

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Philadelphia (38-64) finally pulled the trigger on a deal Wednesday night involving Hamels, sending him along with reliever Jake Diekman to Texas for Matt Harrison and four prospects, highlighted by catcher Jorge Alfaro. The deal doesn't do much in the present for the Phillies, who have the worst team in baseball and are on pace to finish with their worst record since going 47-107 in 1961.

Atlanta (46-55) was at the .500 mark just three weeks ago but has dropped 13 of 17 and has scored 10 runs while losing six of seven. The Braves could be looking to sell, too, though manager Fredi Gonzalez downplayed that suggestion after Wednesday's 2-0 loss at Baltimore.

"The only thing I can say is I got here, turned my phone on and there's nothing on my phone," he said. "I am not talking about Twitter. I am not on Twitter. I didn't get anything from our general manager or anything like that. So, as far as I am concerned, there's no truth to those rumors right now."

Thursday's matchup features two pitchers seeking their first victories since May.

Atlanta's Shelby Miller (5-7, 2.27 ERA) is 0-6 despite a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts since his last win. He's averaged 1.2 runs of support in that span, getting backed by no runs in six of his last seven outings.

He lost again Saturday at St. Louis despite limiting his former club to a run and two hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 1-0 defeat.

"One run, two hits. How much more can you ask for and can he do other than drive in a couple of runs himself?" Gonzalez told MLB's official website. "He pitched great."

Miller's winless stretch includes Atlanta's 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on July 5 as he allowed seven hits in 6 1-3 scoreless innings. He's 3-1 in six career meetings with a 2.03 ERA.

Aaron Harang (4-11, 4.08) is making his first start since July 1 after being sidelined by plantar fasciitis. His season went downhill prior to the injury - he dropped his last eight starts and owns an 8.31 ERA over the last six with opponents hitting .331 in that span. He surrendered a career high-matching 14 hits and a season-high eight runs over five-plus innings in a 9-5 loss to Milwaukee on July 1.

Jose Contreras was the last pitcher to lose nine consecutive starts in the same season, doing so in 2007 with the Chicago White Sox. Harang will look to draw upon recent success against Atlanta, as he's 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last five meetings, and gave up one run over 14 innings in two this year with his second-to-last win.

Atlanta owns a 5-4 edge in the season series and has won 14 of the last 22 meetings.

Freddie Freeman is 9 for 23 with six RBIs while playing six times against Philadelphia this year but is 2 for 17 with five strikeouts off Harang. He's also just 2 for 18 since being activated from the disabled list.

Freddy Galvis is 18 for his last 42 (.429) against the Braves.