National League East Showdown

Round one of this weekend’s National League East showdown series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves went to the Phils Friday night. Round two features a great pitching matchup Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park (4:10 Eastern, Fox).

The Phillies won the opener of this series Friday night, which was delayed for two hours at the start by rain, 3-2 on a Raul Ibanez homer in the bottom of the 10th inning. Roy Halladay gave up two earned runs on six hits in seven innings, as Philly escaped with the victory as -155 favorites. And Friday’s game played under its total of 6.5.

So the Phils, at a Major League-best 56-33, now lead the NL East by 3.5 games over 53-37 Atlanta.

Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.92) starts for the Phillies Saturday against Tommy Hanson (10-4, 2.52) for Atlanta. As of Saturday morning 5Dimes.com is listing Philly as a -151 favorite, with an over/under of 6.5.

Hanson has been on a roll, with four quality starts in his last five outings. Over that span he’s given up seven earned runs on 18 hits in 32 innings of work. For the season Hanson owns a 1.04 WHIP and a 103/34 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Braves have won his last five starts, and they’re 11-5 in his starts this year, with the totals going 6-9.

Hanson started four times vs. Philly last year, allowing just three ER on 17 hits in 22 1/3 IP.

Lee recently threw three straight shutouts, before coming back to Earth in his last outing, giving up six ER on 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings pitched in a loss at Toronto last Sunday. For the season Lee owns a 1.08 WHIP and a 128/27 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Phillies are 11-7 in his starts this season, the totals 7-11.

Lee has started twice vs. Atlanta this season, giving up nine ER on 19 hits in 10 1/3 IP, walking two and striking out 19. The Phillies lost both those games.

So far this season these two teams have split 10 games, with the over/unders going 3-5-2, as the games have averaged 6.6 runs per.

The Braves are a very respectable 25-19 on the road this season, while Philly is 33-14 at home.

On the injury front Philly is playing without outfielder Shane Victorino, who’s on the DL with a sprained thumb, and 3B Placido Polanco, who’s missed recent action with a bad back.

The over/unders are 41-43 in Braves games this season, 39-42 in Phillies games, and 18-23 in games played at The Bank.

As for Saturday’s game Lee has been great recently, but Hanson’s numbers vs. the Phillies are nice. So we’ll take the Braves as live dogs to even up this series.

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