National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, September 1st (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (63-69) at Atlanta Braves (74-58), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (3-7, 3.67) Atlanta - Tim Hudson (13-4, 3.57)
(Sports Network) - Tim Hudson will try to prevent the Atlanta Braves from losing for the fourth time in five games on Saturday afternoon when the playoff contenders continue a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hudson appears to be the right man for the job as he won his seventh straight decision last time out on Sunday after besting the San Francisco Giants. He hasn't lost since July 1, a span of 10 outings without a setback.
The veteran right-hander held the Giants to a run on five hits and a walk over seven innings of a 7-1 win, moving to 13-4 on the season with a 3.57 earned run average.
"I was able to throw strikes and make those guys put it in play. It was a day where you definitely needed to pound the strike zone," Hudson said.
Hudson won his first two starts against the Phillies this season, but was pounded by them in the most recent encounter in Philadelphia on Aug. 8. The 37-year-old was touched for six runs on six hits, two homers and three walks over 4 1/3 innings.
Reduced to the role of spoiler, the Phillies turn this afternoon to Cliff Lee, who is looking to follow up his first home win in nearly a year.
Lee is just 3-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 23 starts this season, winning for the first time in five outings on Sunday after holding the visiting Washington Nationals to a run on seven hits over seven frames without a walk.
"It's been a strange year," Lee admitted. "The only thing I can really control is my preparation, focusing on my routine and trying to keep my mind in the moment. Hopefully, I can keep that going and finish this year strong."
The left-hander, who turned 34 on Thursday, won at home for the first time since tossing a five-hit shutout against the Braves on Sept. 5 of last season. He has yet to face Atlanta this season.
Despite being eight games out of a wild card spot, the Phillies didn't show any quit in Friday's opener, rallying for an 8-5 victory in 10 innings.
Eric Kratz hit a game-tying solo homer in the ninth inning off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, who blew his third save of the season, and John Mayberry launched a go-ahead three-run shot in the 10th.
"Just try to get a pitch you can handle and not try to do too much with it because if you try to speed up or swing too hard, when the guy (Kimbrel) is throwing that hard you're never going to catch up to it," Kratz said of his homer.
Jonathan Papelbon then worked a perfect bottom of the frame for his 31st save of the season and Philadelphia's sixth victory in eight games. It was also just its fourth win in 13 meetings with season with the Braves.
Martin Prado and Freddie Freeman both hit two-run homers and Dan Uggla stroked a solo shot for the Braves, who hold the first wild card position in the NL but fell 6 1/2 games back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East.
09/01 10:30:48 ET