The Atlanta Braves go into tonight’s game with the Phillies, tied for the N.L. Wild Card with an 89-72 record. If both teams win or lose tonight, they will have a 1-game playoff in St. Louis tomorrow night. The Braves will have 36-year old righty Tim Hudson starting tonight against 30-year old righty Joe Blanton of the Phillies. Hudson has pitched in 32 games (all starts) for the Braves so far this year and he is 16-10 with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He has a 1-1 record with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP against the Phillies so far this year. Hudson has had some issues with a trio of Phillies’ hitters in his career so far. 1B Ryan Howard is 15 for 49 (.306 avg, 1.111 OPS) with 1 double, 6 homers and 13 RBIs in his career against Hudson. Maybe Charlie Manuel will give Howard the night off to rest his foot which has been barking as of late. Lefty swinging veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez is 17 for 58 (.290 avg, .780 OPS) with 5 doubles, 1 homer and 7 RBIs against Hudson in his career. Righty swinging outfielder John Mayberry has been downright nasty against Hudson as he is 2 for 3 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs. He is a virtual lock to be in the lineup for the Phillies tonight.
30-year old righty Joe Blanton has pitched in 10 games (7 starts) so far this year for the Phillies and he is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Blanton missed most of this year due to injury as he has just returned from the D.L. in September. He has pitched in 4 games (0 starts) so far this month and he is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP. The Braves have a lot of hitters with success against Blanton in their careers. Martin Prado has really raked against him as he is 7 for 19 (.368 avg) with 3 homers and 4 RBIs in his career against Blanton. Chipper Jones is 7 for 20 (.350 avg) with 1 double, 1 homer and 3 RBIs against Blanton. Brian McCann has also had a lot of success against Blanton as he is 8 for 20 (.400 avg) with 2 homers and 6 RBIs against him. Finally, Michael Bourn is 3 for 6 (.500 avg) 3 stolen bases against Blanton.
The numbers look good for the Braves in this game, but it won’t be played on paper.