Atlanta Braves (78-83) at Philadelphia Phillies (73-88)
Sunday, September 28 - 1:35 PM EST
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cole Hamels supplied the initial part of a historic performance the last time he faced Atlanta, and the Philadelphia ace aims to finish the 2014 season with another dominant showing Sunday when the Phillies host the Braves in the season finale. Hamels fired six no-hit innings at Atlanta on Sept. 1, and three Philadelphia relievers finished off the 11th combined no-hitter in major-league history. It started a miserable month for Atlanta, which has lost 18 of 24 games in September.
The Braves have won two of their past four contests, but it is little solace for a team that started 2014 with 17 wins in its first 24 games and led the National League East for 86 days before going 26-40 since the All-Star break. Justin Upton belted his 29th homer in Saturday’s 4-2 victory, and the left fielder enters the final day of the season with 102 RBIs. Philadelphia's Ben Revere has 183 hits, and is tied with Washington’s Denard Span for the most in the NL entering the season’s final day.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves LH James Russell (0-2, 3.19 ERA) vs. Phillies LH Cole Hamels (9-8, 2.47)
The Braves had planned on starting left-hander Alex Wood, but he experienced left forearm discomfort following Tuesday’s outing against Pittsburgh and the team elected to turn over the season finale to its bullpen. Russell has allowed six earned runs in 20 1/3 innings since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline. He started five games for the Cubs in 2011.
Hamels has been outstanding in the second half, going 6-3 with a 1.91 ERA and has allowed just 19 earned runs in 13 starts. Since going 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA in his first three starts, Hamels has surrendered more than three earned runs once in 26 games - going 9-6 with a 2.05 ERA. Hamels is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA in three starts against the Braves in 2014 and is 16-8 in 34 career games versus Atlanta.
1. Aaron Harang posted the Braves’ major-league leading 110th quality start Saturday.
2. Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley doubled twice Saturday, and with 334 career two-base hits is two from tying Chuck Klein for sixth on the Phillies’ all-time list.
3. Four Atlanta players rank in the top 11 in the NL in strikeouts: B.J. Upton (fourth, 173), Justin Upton (fifth, 171), Chris Johnson (eighth, 158) and Freddie Freeman (11th, 144).
PREDICTION: Phillies 4, Braves 1