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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, July 18 (All times Eastern)

Philadelphia Phillies (42-53) at Atlanta Braves (52-43), 7:35 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - A.J. Burnett (6-8, 3.83) Atlanta - Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.01)

(SportsNetwork.com) - While the rest was certainly welcomed, the Atlanta Braves hope that the All-Star break didn't cool off their awaking offense.

The Braves eye up a third straight victory on Friday night as they begin a three-game series with the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

Following a 1-5 stretch in which they were held to four runs or fewer in each game, the Braves plated 21 runs over the weekend in a pair of wins over the Chicago Cubs.

Third baseman Chris Johnson was at the front of the surge, notching five hits, three homers and seven RBI in the two wins.

The back-to-back wins allowed Atlanta to head into the break in a virtual tie with the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East and the club will look to snap that stalemate in the opener of an 11-game homestand.

Philadelphia, meanwhile, lost its final two games following a five-game winning streak and sits nine games under .500 as well as 10 games back of Washington and Atlanta for first place.

Shortstop Jimmy Rollins entered the All-Star break on a five-game hitting streak for the Phillies, going 7-for-21 with three homers, seven RBI and six runs scored.

Rollins will try to extend that streak against Atlanta righty Ervin Santana, who was denied a third straight winning start with a 4-1 loss at the New York Mets on July 9. He was touched for four runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings.

Santana is 7-6 with a 4.01 earned run average on the season and the 31-year- old holds a lifetime mark of 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four starts versus the Phillies.

Philadelphia opens this set with 37-year-old veteran A.J. Burnett on the mound. He went 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA in the first half, snapping a three-game winless drought (0-2) with a 6-2 win over Washington last Friday.

Burnett allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over 7 2/3 frames, striking out six while notching his seventh straight outing of allowing three earned runs or fewer.

"Burnett has been a steady force, he's been a leader, he's been a veteran guy, he's been a workhorse. He really seems to be getting better, pitching quality games and continuing to do that," said Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg.

The right-handed Burnett is 5-12 with a 3.90 ERA in his career versus the Braves, getting a no-decision in the lone previous meeting this season back on April 17. He hurled seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball.

The Phillies recorded a three-game sweep in Atlanta from June 16-18, but the Braves responded by taking all four meetings of a set in Philadelphia in late June to take a 6-4 lead in the season series.

07/18 10:38:42 ET

TV
  • NCAAT: Louisville v. Michigan State

    Tomorrow at 2:20 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAAT: Duke v. Gonzaga

    Tomorrow at 5:05 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CHA 45
ATL 40
 
1st Intermission
CAR 0
NJD 1
 
Final
NYY 2
BAL 10
Final
TAM 6
BOS 9
Final
MIA 1
HOU 1
Final
MIN 7
PHI 1
Final
DET 4
STL 3
Final
PIT 8
TOR 3
Final
TOR 3
ATL 5
Final
NYM 10
WAS 2
Final
CIN 9
CHC 5
Final
MIL 2
CLE 3
8th
CHC 18
COL 4
 
Final
CWS 4
OAK 10
Final
TEX 2
SDP 3
Final
SEA 8
SFG 9
7th
ARI 5
KAN 8
 
Final
ANA 4
LOS 5
2nd
CHA 45
ATL 40
 
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
NYK
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
GSW
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
OKC
10:00pm Tonight
POR
DEN
2nd
WISC 60
ARZ 51
 
1st
YALE 10
CAN 9
 
8:49pm Tonight
KENT
ND
Final
WAS 3
NAS 4
Final
NYI 2
ANA 3
Final
PIT 3
ARI 2
Final
BOS 4
NYR 2
Final
PHI 2
SJS 3
Final
DET 4
TAM 0
1st
MON 1
FLA 0
 
1st Intermission
CAR 0
NJD 1
 
1st Intermission
TOR 0
OTT 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CLB
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
LOS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
BUF
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
DAL