Kevin McAlpin covers the Phillies for 97.5 The Fanatic. You can follow him on Twitter (@KevinMcAlpin)
Last night officially marked the midway point of the 2010 season. After 81 games, the Phillies find themselves with an identical record to last year at this point (43-38) as the Phillies downed the Braves 3-1. Roy Halladay (10-7) threw his seventh complete game of the season which is the most by a Phillie starter since Curt Schilling did it in 1999. Halladay's 10th win also marked the sixth straight season he's won 10 or more prior to the All-Star Break which is the most since Catfish Hunter did it seven straight seasons in the early 70's. "Doc was on top of his game tonight" said Braves skipper Bobby Cox. "You figure you almost have to throw a shutout to beat him. He's that good and has been for years."
Tonight, Cole Hamels (6-7, 4.07) looks to pull the Phillies even closer to the division-leading Braves in the middle game of the series. On Thursday, Hamels went seven innings giving up just three runs but was saddled with the loss as the Phillies offense was held to just two runs against the Pirates. Over his last seven starts, Hamels is just 1-5, despite allowing three earned runs or fewer in six of those seven outings. For the Braves, Jair Jurrjens (1-3, 5.59) will make just his seventh start of the season. Jurrjens returned after a two-month stint on the DL last Wednesday and held the Nationals to just one run on six hits over five innings en route to his first win of the 2010 campaign. Yesterday I spoke with Jurrjens who said he "felt good" after his first start. "I don't have control of all my pitches yet. This is like Spring Training again for me" Jurrjens added.
Offensively, Ryan Howard is batting .369 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in his last 26 home games. Jayson Werth has been hot over his last 22 games, hitting .316 with 3 home runs after struggling mightily for close to two weeks. Last night's hero Greg Dobbs has also been swinging the bat much better now that he's seeing consistent playing time.
Braves Line-Up: Prado 2B, Infante RF, Jones 3B, Glaus 1B, Escobar SS, Diaz LF, Ross C, Blanco CF, Jurrjens (1-3, 5.59) P
Phillies Line-Up: Rollins SS, Victorino CF, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Dobbs 3B, Valdez 2B, Sardinha C, Hamels (6-7, 4.07) P