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Atlanta Braves (77-83) at Philadelphia Phillies (73-87)
Saturday, September 27 - 7:05 PM EST
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Aaron Harang signed with the Atlanta Braves during the final week of spring training, and all the 36-year-old has done is put together one of the best seasons of his career. Harang makes his 33rd and final start of the season looking for his 12th victory Saturday when the Braves visit the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia captured the series opener Friday, rallying from four runs down to win 5-4, and closer Jonathan Papelbon began mending fences with the Phillies’ fanbase.
Papelbon was booed when he jogged onto the field to pitch the ninth, in his first home appearance after being suspended seven games for making a lewd gesture toward Phillies’ fans Sept. 14, but he earned his 39th save of the season. The Phillies won for just the second time in eight games this season against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves have struggled on offense throughout 2014 – scoring two runs or fewer 63 times – and even the early four-run advantage Friday was not enough to keep Atlanta from dropping to a major-league worst 5-18 this month.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Aaron Harang (11-12, 3.60 ERA) vs. Phillies RH A.J. Burnett (8-17, 4.57)
Harang went 5-12 with a 5.40 ERA last season with Seattle and the New York Mets, but currently owns the lowest ERA of his major-league career and is 2 1/3 innings shy of reaching 200 for the first time since 2007. He has lost his past two starts, but allowed only three runs combined while the Braves were shut out in both games. Harang is 1-1 against the Phillies this season with a 5.00 ERA in three starts.
Burnett gave up six runs on only three hits – but issued six walks – in 4 1/3 innings Sunday in a no-decision against Oakland, and is 2-7 since the start of August. He beat Washington on Sept. 6, but has surrendered 14 earned runs over 16 innings in his past three outings with 13 walks. Burnett gave up six runs in five innings while losing to Atlanta on July 18, and is 5-13 lifetime with a 4.17 ERA against the Braves.
1. Atlanta CF B.J. Upton set the team’s single-season record for strikeouts with two Friday to give him 173, surpassing Dan Uggla’s previous record of 171 set a year ago.
2. Philadelphia CF Ben Revere needs two stolen bases to become the first Phillies player since Juan Samuel in 1985 to steal at least 50 bases.
3. Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman is one of only two National League players (Hunter Pence, Giants) to start every game this season.
PREDICTION: Braves 5, Phillies 4