National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, August 31st (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (62-69) at Atlanta Braves (74-57), 7:20 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Roy Halladay (8-7, 3.88) Atlanta - Mike Minor (7-10, 4.71)
(Sports Network) - After stumbling to the finish of their recent road trip, the Atlanta Braves return home on Friday to begin a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves concluded a 10-game swing with a series loss to the San Diego Padres, falling in Wednesday's finale by an 8-2 margin. David Ross homered and Michael Bourn drove in a run, but Tommy Hanson yielded four runs -- three earned -- over 4 2/3 frames to suffer the defeat.
That left Atlanta with a 4-6 mark on the trip and the current holders of the first wild card spot in the league sit 5 1/2 games back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
"It's a frustrating end to a road trip," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.
Atlanta left-hander Mike Minor starts this opener after ending his own frustrations with a victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
Minor halted a three-start slide by yielding three runs on four hits without a walk over 6 2/3 innings of a 7-3 decision. He improved to 7-10 with a 4.71 earned run average on the season.
"I'm pleased with the way Minor pitched today. Better than pleased really, ecstatic, and pleased with the offense," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The 24-year-old earned his first victory since beating the Phillies at home on July 28, a start in which he hurled eight innings of one-run ball and struck out nine. Minor did lose his most recent start to the club at Philadelphia, touched for three runs over seven innings in a 3-0 loss.
Philadelphia's Roy Halladay hopes to pick up his first victory of the season over the Braves, having gone 0-1 in two outings with an 8.74 ERA. The right- hander has allowed 11 runs and three homers while striking out 12 over 11 1/3 innings against them in 2012.
Halladay, though, has won four of his past five starts while going at least seven innings in each one. He hurled seven frames on Saturday to beat the Nationals, winning his second straight start after scattering two runs, seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
The 35-year-old went above .500 in the season with the victory, moving to 8-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 19 starts.
Philadelphia sits seven games under the even mark following Thursday's 3-2 win over the New York Mets. The Phillies avoided getting swept in the three-game set thanks to a solid outing by Kyle Kendrick as well as an RBI and run scored from Kevin Frandsen.
Kendrick tossed 7 2/3 innings, giving up a homer to two of the first six batters faced but just five hits more after that.
"Give the team a chance to win and I was able to do that," Kendrick said.
The win, Philadelphia's fifth in seven games, was overshadowed by manager Charlie Manuel pulling shortstop Jimmy Rollins after the sixth inning for a lack of hustle. Rollins failed to run out an infield popup that was dropped by New York pitcher Jon Niese.
Though Rollins reached first, he probably could have made it second had he gone full speed.
"I've got two rules, be on time and hustle," said manager Charlie Manuel. "And running balls out is definitely part of it."
It is unknown if Rollins will face further discipline by not playing today.
"That's between Jimmy and I," Manuel said.
The Braves have won nine of 12 against the Phillies this season.
08/31 10:36:41 ET