MLB

Braves-Phillies Preview

The Atlanta Braves opened the season with five straight wins, but they have yet to match that total in two weeks since.

After ending a four-game slide, the Braves will try to conclude this three-game series with back-to-back wins Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta (9-8) has gone 4-8 after its unexpected fast start to 2015. The Braves have followed each of their victories since with a loss, a trend they'll try to break after rallying for a 5-2 win at Philadelphia on Saturday.

Andrelton Simmons got the comeback started with a leadoff homer to spark a three-run seventh after Atlanta was blanked for 20 straight innings over three games, including a 1-0 loss in Friday's series opener.

"No runs (Friday), none through six (Saturday), you might see some hanging heads there," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But they stayed in there and battled."

Gonzalez will be looking for the same from Trevor Cahill (0-2, 9.95 ERA), who hasn't completed six innings in eight straight starts dating to last season.

He appeared to be on his way Tuesday, tossing four scoreless before giving up four runs and leaving without getting an out in the fifth of a 7-1 loss to the New York Mets.

That can be considered an improvement after he lasted 2 1-3 innings and gave up four runs and three walks in an 8-2 loss to Miami a week earlier.

"Your goal every time out there is to put up a quality start," Cahill told MLB's official website. "I was a little bit better than last time, but at the same time, you'd like to at least get through six. Through the first four, I had the pitch count and I was going well enough that I was thinking I could go past that, but then I kind of let things unravel there."

Cahill is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two career starts at Philadelphia, but his most recent came in 2012.

Saturday's loss was the 10th in 13 games for the Phillies (6-12), who have totaled five runs and batted .214 over the past four.

Ryan Howard has been one of the biggest culprits, going 1 for 10 over his last three games to drop his average to .189. His last two hits, however, have been two-run homers.

Howard is 0 for 9 with six strikeouts against Cahill.

Jerome Williams (1-1, 3.71) gets the ball seeking to win consecutive starts. He allowed three runs with six strikeouts over six innings of Tuesday's 7-3 victory over Miami. That came six days after he was tagged for five runs and two homers in five innings of a 6-1 loss to the Mets.

"It was good going out there, throwing and locating pitches where they needed to be," Williams said.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last four starts against the Braves.

Nick Markakis, who is batting .471 (16 for 34) during a 10-game stretch, is 6 for 13 against Williams.

Kelly Johnson also has fared well in this matchup, going 8 for 21 (.381).

Promoted Stories
Comments

More MLB