Chipper out of the lineup today in Phily
Today's game with the Philadelphia Phillies (1:30 pm ET on Fox SportSouth HD) is a very big game for the Atlanta Braves.
Yes, it's still only May 9. It's still early. But it doesn't mean a game can't be important.
The Braves have the opportunity to win the series. And after the last two weeks, winning a series against the first place Phillies could be the exact medicine needed to turn this thing around.
It's somewhat amazing that despite the struggles of the last two weeks, the Braves are still within five games of first place. And it could be four if they sneak out a win in the series finale this afternoon.
Since those two tremendous victories against the Rockies on April 18 and then the win over the Phillies on April 20, the Braves have gone 5-12.
They are a better team than that. We all know it. It's been a quote used by the players several times over the past two weeks.
This has just been a funk that they are trying desperately to get out of, and a win over the Phillies today could really help that happen.
Atlanta has a different look to its lineup today. Chipper Jones is out. He strained his left groin in yesterday's game, so he's getting a day off and Brooks Conrad is at third and hitting seventh in the lineup.
It's a shame Jones can't go, considering he's hitting .409 against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels in his career with two home runs in 26 plate appearances.
Melky Cabrera is moved up to third in the lineup. It's the first time he's hit there this year. Cabrera has three plate appearances in that spot in the lineup in his career and is 0-2 with a RBI. Cabrera is 3-6 in his career against Hamels.
Jason Heyward pinch-hit in Saturday's game, but he's still not ready to return to the lineup. With his appearance yesterday, that's a good sign he'll avoid the disabled list and might play in Milwaukee.
Here's the Atlanta lineup for today:
Omar Infante – SS – 0-7 in the series and 0 for his last 13
Martin Prado – 2B – Hitting .095 (2-21) on trip and is 0 for his last 13
Melky Cabrera – RF – 1-16 on the road trip – hitting only .100 against lefties this year
Troy Glaus – 1B – 4-game hitting streak (5-16, .313)
Brian McCann – C – Hitting .367 vs. Hamels with 10 RBI in 30 at bats
Matt Diaz – LF – Has one home run in 26 plate appearances vs. Hamels
Brooks Conrad – 3B – First start of the 2010 season
Nate McLouth – CF – Hitting better against lefties (.217) than right-handers (.169)
Kenshin Kawakami - P
Kawakami makes his sixth start of the season for the Braves, and he's still looking for his first win. His ERA is 5.47. Kawakami has not gone past the sixth inning so far this season, so we'll see if Kawakami can give the Braves an extended start against the Phillies.
Last year Kawakami made two starts against the Phillies and gave up five runs in 12.1 innings (3.65 ERA).
Look for some of the Braves players to use the pink bats, pink batting gloves, pink wristbands, and pink lapel pins to commemorate Mother's Day.
First pitch is 1:30 pm ET today on Fox Sports South HD with Chip Caray, Joe Simpson, and Tom Glavine calling the action.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
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