Saturday, August 29, 2009

Braves Must Face Lee in Critical Game

Diamondbacks-Phillies

The Atlanta Braves go into tonight's game knowing two things. The game is probably their most important game of the season to this point and they face the hottest pitcher in baseball. The adrenaline and Nexium should be flowing tonight.


A victory by the Phillies would assure that the Braves would leave town no better than 8 games behind in the standings, and would give them the opportunity to drive the distance to double digits. Conversely, with a win, the Braves can see some light at the end of the tunnel and possibly narrow the gap to 6 games by series end.


Lee heads to the mound for the sixth time in a Phillies uniform, following a phenomenal 5-0, 0.68 ERA start. The Braves will counter with veteran Derek Lowe, who is 12-8 on the season and can be tough when he is keeping his sinker down, but in the strike zone.


A key for Lee will be keeping hot hitting Matt Diaz in check, who is hitting .615 over the past week and .405 for the month of August. Also, for the season, he has hit lefties at a .392 clip.


The Phillies, of course, have their own red hot hitter in Ryan Howard. He continues to launch balls into the stands, jacking two more last night to give him 11 home runs and 29 RBI over the past 15 games. A contributing factor in his batting streak has been the fact that Jayson Werth has also been swinging a hot bat, making it a lot less feasible for teams to pitch around him.


Expect electricity in the air tonight with Lee on the hill and both teams knowing the stakes. It should be fun. Also, do not forget the bonus entertainment on the field prior to the game: Going Yard at Citizen's Bank Park.


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