Tonight the Braves (40-44) take on the Phillies (45-39) in the second game of a three-game series. After last night's disappointing performance by the Braves, I think we're all hoping to see a very different team on the field tonight.
Pitching for the Braves tonight is right-hander, Jorge Campillo. With a 3-2 record and 2.54 ERA, Campillo's time with the big league club has shown that he could be a solid part of our rotation. Campillo has faced the Phillies twice this season. First, he appeared as a reliever in Philadelphia on May 15th, where he pitched three scoreless innings. His next appearance against the Phillies was back on June 8th in Atlanta where he got no decision. Campillo left that game after 7.1 innings pitched (and a career-high 105 pitches thrown) with the game tied 3-3.
The Phillies will match Adam Eaton against Campillo. Eaton is 2-6 this year with a 4.86 ERA. This year has been a struggle for Eaton, as he didn't receive his first decision until after his sixth start. The road hasn't been kind to Eaton either, as he's 0-4 this year with a 4.29 ERA. Braves fans are going to like this next stat, too: the Phillies have scored only three runs over Eaton's last three starts.
Speaking of run support (or lack thereof), Campillo has suffered at the hands of his teammates as well. The Braves have averaged fewer runs scored per game while Campillo is pitching (3.9) than any other starting pitcher with the exception of Jeff Bennett (3.3).
The key tonight is going to be getting some runs on the board. Gregor Blanco should be one of the men who can make that happen. He's hit safely in his last five games, boosting his average from .242 to .274. In the past seven days, he's 12-for-21 (.571) with three runs and three RBIs. While Tex wasn't the man last night, he could be tonight. He has posted 11 homeruns and 32 RBIs in the past 31 days to lead the majors in RBIs and tie for second in homeruns during that time period. Hopefully he can contribute tonight against Adam Eaton.
If hitting is our Achilles' heel these days, the pitching staff is our golden shield. I think it's important to point out what an excellent job the Braves pitching staff has done this year, despite the swinging door that seems to have existed between the pitching staff and the DL. The Braves lead the National League in team ERA (3.74) and opponents' batting average (.247). The bullpen is second in the majors with a .228 opponents' batting average and eighth in the majors with a 3.42 ERA. I think we've all been a little frustrated with how over-worked the bullpen has been this year, but the numbers don't lie - pitching isn't the problem.
Here's to taking the next two from the Phils!