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Game Preview: Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Game 3)

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Wednesday, September 22 – 7:05 (SportSouth)
Atlanta Braves (86-66) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (91-61)

Tommy Hanson
(3.62 ERA, 4.11 xFIP, 2.49 BB/9, 7.83 K/9, 8.7 SwStr%, 39.8 GB%)
(Career vs. PHI: 4 GS, 1-2, 3.93 ERA, 8 BB, 17 K)
vs.
Roy Oswalt
(2.90 ERA, 3.48 xFIP, 2.36 BB/9, 8.20 K/9, 9.5 SwStr%, 44.7 GB%)
(Career vs. ATL: 7 GS, 0-3, 7.58 ERA, 8 BB, 29 K)

Braves vs. Oswalt:
Derrek Lee: 18-65, 5 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB, 17 K
Nate McLouth: 10-28, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB, 8 K
Alex Gonzalez: 10-23, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB, 3 K
Rick Ankiel: 5-21, BB, 3 K
Brian McCann: 2-2, 2B, RBI

Phillies vs. Hanson:
Ryan Howard: 2-8, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 4 K
Raul Ibanez: 3-7, 2 2B, RBI, 2 BB, K
Chase Utley: 3-9, 2B, 3B, RBI, 3 K
Shane Victorino: 1-7, BB
Jayson Werth: 1-4, 2B, 2 BB, 2 K
Carlos Ruiz: 0-5, 2 K
Placido Polanco: 1-3, 2B, K

What to Watch:
It would be in the Braves’ best interests to win a game in this series, and seeing as how this is the last one, they should try to win it. It may not mean much right now, but the Braves have hit Roy Oswalt hard in the past, while Tommy Hanson has pitched fairly well against the Phillies. There may be a little desperation in the Braves dugout tonight, as they are currently a game ahead in the wild card and need to salvage something from this series.

My Take on the Opposition:
Oswalt is also having one of his best seasons, recording a 3.48 xFIP and 3.48 K/BB. He is striking out batters at a rate of 8.20 K/9, which is his highest since his rookie season of 2001. A BABIP of .267 and fewer grounders means Oswalt is getting a good bit of luck, but he is still a dominating pitcher. He’s mixing in an equal amount of sliders, curves and changeups, and all have thrived this season. Oswalt has yet to face the Braves this season. He holds a 0-3 mark and 7.58 ERA in seven career starts.