Hanson opens series tonight against the Phils

Here's a series preview of the Braves and Phillies.

The Atlanta Braves open a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Turner Field in Atlanta.

The Phillies are 8-4 and have a one-game lead over the Braves in the National League East. The Marlins are in between the two teams with an 8-5 record, a half-game back of Philadelphia. Atlanta stands at 7-5 and has won four of its last five games.

Tommy Hanson will go for the Braves in the opener tonight. Hanson is 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA. He has 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings in the first two starts of the season. Hanson gave up only one run to San Diego in his previous start last Wednesday.

Hanson didn't fare very well against the Phillies last season. He was 0-2 in two games with a 6.43 ERA. Ryan Howard hit a home run off Hanson in the first game on August 28.

Philadelphia will send Kyle Kendrick to the mound, and he will look to decrease his gigantic 17.47 ERA. Kendrick allowed six runs in his last start in 1.2 innings pitched against the Nationals. He also pitched his season opener against Washington and gave up five runs in four innings.

Kendrick is 4-1 lifetime against the Braves with a 3.29 ERA in seven games (six starts). He's 2-0 in his career at Turner Field. Brian McCann and Chipper Jones both had solo home runs against Kendrick in 2008. Jones added a home run in Philadelphia off Kendrick in 2007.

Kendrick has struggled in his career in April, posting a 7.31 ERA in seven games.

The Phillies have the third highest team batting average in baseball – at .291. Atlanta is 24th with a .233 team average. Philadelphia is one of many teams tied for third in home runs with 16, while the Braves have only nine on the season, tied for 24th.

Philadelphia also has a slightly better team ERA than Atlanta. The Phillies' pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.87 (13th best in the majors), while the Braves are at 3.94 (15th best in the big leagues).

Wednesday the Braves will have Tim Hudson on the mound (1-0, 2.84), while Derek Lowe (3-0, 4.67) goes for his fourth win of the season Thursday. The Phillies have not announced the probable pitchers for the final two games of the series.

Game time Tuesday is 7:00 pm ET. Peachtree TV will televise the game around the southeast.

Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.

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