J.A. Happ (8-2, 2.75) and Javier Vasquez (10-7, 2.90) pitch in front of a national audience when the Phillies and Braves play the deciding game of a crucial three-game series. First pitch is 8:05.
Preview: As the calendar passes mid-August, the wheat has been separated from the chaff and the stage is set for stretch run baseball. Fittingly, this back-and-forth series will be decided by a prime time rubber match featuring two good pitchers. A national audience will be formally introduced to Happ, who leads all NL rookies in ERA and is sixth in the league overall. Like the previous two games, viewers should expect another low-scoring contest, with Vasquez and his NL second-best 171 strikeouts standing on the opposite side. The Phils are hoping for better execution from an offense that squandered several chances yesterday and have generally struggled all month with runners in scoring position. With Brad Lidge pitching the last two nights, with less than optimum results, we'll see how Charlie Manuel plays it if the Phils carry a lead to the ninth. Checking the scoreboard, if Colorado holds on, the Phils will start play with a four-game lead over the Marlins, who trail the Rockies 6-1 in the seventh. A win tonight would keep the Marlins 4.5 back and push the Braves six back in the National League East. Lineups are posted: Carlos Ruiz receives, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez hit fifth and sixth respectively.
Weather delay: Thunderstorms are reportedly rolling through the greater Atlanta area at this hour and the start of the game will be delayed.