Series preview: vs. Phillies
When (TV): 7:10 p.m. Monday (FSSO), Wednesday (FSSO) and Thursday (SPSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Monday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (16-7, 3.62 ERA in 2012) vs. LH Cole Hamels (17-6, 3.05 in 2012)
Wednesday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (13-11, 3.67) vs. RH Roy Halladay (11-8, 4.49)
Thursday: Braves RH Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) vs. LH Cliff Lee (6-9, 3.16)
About the Braves:
Batting: Andrelton Simmons went 7-for-24 (.292) with two doubles and three home runs in eight games after rejoining the Braves from the World Baseball Classic. Freddie Freeman tied for the Grapefruit League lead with seven home runs to pace a Braves team which led in that category with 48 home runs overall. Justin Upton and Juan Francisco each hit six home runs.
Pitching: Hudson makes his third opening-day start as a Brave and first since 2008. He is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in five opening day starts overall. This is Hudson’s first opening-day start as a Brave at Turner Field. He pitched in 2008 in Washington, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss, and in 2006 in Los Angeles, giving up five earned runs in four innings of an 11-10 win. Hudson is three wins from 200 for his career.
Miscellaneous: The Braves will open the season with Jonny Venters (elbow), Brian McCann (shoulder surgery), Paul Janish (shoulder surgery) and Brandon Beachy (elbow surgery) on the disabled list. The Braves went 20-15 in Grapefruit League play, their third spring training with 20 or more wins (1994, 2009) since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966.
About the Phillies:
Batting: The Phillies will have both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in their opening-day lineup for the first time since 2010. Neither Utley’s knee or Howard’s Achilles was a factor down during spring training. Howard matched teammate Domonic Brown with seven home runs to tie Freeman for the Grapefruit League lead. The Phillies’ lineup also features newcomers Michael Young, the former Rangers third baseman, and Ben Revere, the speedy center fielder who came via trade from Minnesota.
Pitching: Hamels was the World Series MVP in 2008, but Monday marks his first opening-day start. He missed the start of 2009 with elbow soreness, and Halladay got the opening-day nod each of the past three seasons. But with Halladay showing some signs of decline, Hamels is the clear ace of the Phillies staff. He is 12-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) against the Braves.
Miscellaneous: All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz opens the season by serving a 25-game suspension for two positive tests for Adderall, a banned amphetamine.