It’s pretty much that simple.
Entering July 20, the Phillies sat a reasonable 6 1/2 games back of first-place Atlanta in the NL East. Now, that margin has ballooned to 14 1/2 games with the Phillies going 1-11 over their past 12 contests, and the Braves winning eight in a row.
So, this weekend series has taken a backseat to the Alumni Weekend festivities.
But regarding Saturday’s game, the Phillies turn to a short-rested John Lannan (3-4, 4.10), who goes up against Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy (0-0, 17.18).
If not for Lannan, the Phillies could be stomaching a 12-game losing skid. The lefty went seven strong innings to beat the Giants on Tuesday for the Phils’ only win since July 19, and he just might be the guy to cool off the Braves. Lannan has allowed three earned runs or less in each of his last nine starts against Atlanta, in which he is 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA. He’s also given up just one home run (Dan Uggla) to this current Braves roster, which fuels off the long ball.
The right-handed Beachy takes the bump for the second time since recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had a tough go in his return start against the Rockies, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Here’s how the Phils will go after him:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Michael Young, 1B
3. Chase Utley, 2B (2 for 11, .182 avg. vs. Beachy)
4. Delmon Young, RF
5. Darin Ruf, LF
6. Cody Asche, 3B
7. John Mayberry, CF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C (5 for 11, .455 avg., 1 HR vs. Beachy)
9. John Lannan, P
And for the Braves
1. Andrelton Simmons, SS
2. Justin Upton, RF
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Evan Gattis, C
5. Chris Johnson, 3B
6. Dan Uggla, 2B (9 for 25, .360 avg., 6 BB, 2 K vs. Lannan)
7. B.J. Upton, CF
8. Joey Terdoslavich, LF
9. Brandon Beachy, P