Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
Tip-off: Monday, April 1, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
- Philadelphia: Hamels (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
- Atlanta: Hudson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The Atlanta Braves are not the team YouWager experts used to know. Jason Heyward moved into the Braves’ locker clubhouse used by Chipper Jones. Tonight the 40 year-old throws out the ceremonial first pitch before Atlanta opens their season versus Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Everyone knows that Jones has retired but still expectations are high after the Braves added brothers Justin and B.J. Upton to join Heyward in the outfield. Atlanta is looking for a repeat trip to the MLB playoffs after a wild-card defeat versus the St. Louis Cardinals last season.
During spring training, Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson, who will platoon at third base, combined for nine home runs. First baseman Freddie Freeman, the Upton brothers and rookie catcher Evan Gattis also had big springs as Atlanta led the National League with 49 homers.
Gattis hit a homer that landed in the parking lot outside the team’s Double A Mississippi park in the Braves final exhibition game on Saturday night. The 26 year-old had teammates yelling and pointing as he hit more long homers during batting practice at Turner Field on Sunday.
According to Heyward he had little choice when asked to move into Jones’ locker. Jones spent his full career with Atlanta and was the last link to the 1995 World Series championship team.
Gattis, who hit six spring training homers, and Gerald Laird will share time as Atlanta waits for the return of catcher Brian McCann, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Oddsmakers expect for McCann to rejoin the active roster by the end of April.
Atlanta and Philadelphia also will play in their regular-season finales in the Braves turf.
According to Hamels the Braves look like contenders.
The Phillies went 81-81 last season, ending their streaks of five straight division titles and nine consecutive winning seasons as they finished third in the NL East behind the Washington Nationals and the Braves. Center fielder Ben Revere and third baseman Michael Young are the team’s key additions.
The Braves set its 25-man roster Sunday when the team placed left-hander Jonny Venters on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained elbow. The 28 year-old felt tightness in his elbow in his last spring training game and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews.