After a 4-11 start, the Phillies have climbed back toward respectability, but in some ways, it feels like the real season begins tonight when they face Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves.
Preview: The Braves will be without closer Bob Wickman, who was placed on the disabled list earlier today with an upper back strain, one day after the veteran right-hander blew a save for the second straight time. Atlanta has activated pitcher Chad Paronto, who had been on the DL ... There hasn't been a better National League pitcher this month than Hudson (3-0, 1.22 ERA, .192 BAA, 0.97 WHIP, 37 IP). Coming off a down year in 2006, Hudson dominated the Phillies in his first start of the season and has been sharp since ... After yesterday's game, Atlanta traded struggling outfielder Ryan Langerhans to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for cash considerations. To fill the spot on their roster, the Braves purchased the contract of Willie Harris from Triple-A Richmond ... For the Phils, Jon Lieber (1-0, 3.21 ERA) gets the ball for his third start. Lieber has allowed just two runs, six hits and one walk in 11 2-3 innings since moving out of the bullpen ... Abraham Nunez gets a starting nod at third base in place of Wes Helms ... The Braves trail the Mets by a half game in the NL East. The Phils, after yesterday's win, are 4 1-2 back.