We just played the Phillies in a series, so I think we all know they have gone into fire sale mode since then. We effectively crushed their dreams of coming out of a tailspin post-trade deadline. As such, I don't really need to emphasize how much we need to win the series. We always need to take advantage of bad teams with no hope if we want to win the division.
Game 1: Sheets v. Worley
Game 2: Minor v. Hamels
Game 3: Hudson v. Kendrick
Games 1 & 3 are obvious pitching advantages for us, and I think you can easily see why. Sheets and Hudson both have winning records facing off against two guys with .500 or worse records. Worley has a .281 average against our lineup, and Kendrick has a 4.45 ERA with a .289 average against us. If I'm picking the two "must-win" games of the series, those are the ones.
Game 2 is the question mark. Minor is pitching well, and Hamels hasn't won yet since his payday, but Cole is always one good outing away from making you look really stupid at the plate. In Atlanta, we beat him 6-1 on a lot of walks and Philly errors. I seriously doubt he will walk 6 at home. Minor has one his last two games while only giving up one earned run. If he can work that kind of performance against the Phillies again, they have zero shot at the win.
A recent article by Jeff Schultz brought up an interesting point about Kris Medlen. He's an amazing pitching talent that seems to be good in any scenario. This is only a "problem" in the same way that having 3 All-Star catchers is a problem. Right now the Braves have to decide how to use Medlen (my vote is the rotation) and Schultz brought up the idea of a 6 man rotation. Now, that's wildly insane and will never happen. However, the point is a solid one that Medlen could be used to fill in the gaps with Huddy needing a day off for ankle problems and Minor missing a start isn't going to make anybody cry. The reason this comes up is because Hanson was forced on the DL until the September roster expansion. If he comes back early, I'll be shocked. He's been a disaster in 4 of his last 5 games, but they were all wins for us. I'm torn as a fan about that. He's the reverse Delgado. He pitches horribly and gets massive support.
Anyway, let's just go beat up on the Phillies in their building. I'm tired of people talking about them and their contracts. I'm tired of them being on top. I'm tired of their fans acting confused now that the bottom has completely fallen out. You know why you're losing Philly fans? Because you spent more on your starting rotation and closer than your entire starting lineup. Completely shocking nobody with a brain, that means you're 21st in the majors in on-base percentage. Oh noes! I feel bad for your rotation that's making more than my entire team and only has 36 wins. Not really.