Game 8: When aces are ambushed

ATLANTA -- So the Phillies vaunted starting rotation has a 6.19 ERA through the team's first seven games. And the four starters not named Roy Halladay have a 9.26 ERA.

You think opposing teams are stoked for the challenge of facing the aces?

Phillies Braves baseball
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee leaves the game as Phillies manager Charlie Manuel calls for a new pitcher during the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Friday, April 8, 2011. ( AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

Cliff Lee was ambushed, just as Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton were before him. The Braves swung early in counts and did not let Lee get ahead. Does the lefthander expect a lot of teams to come out swinging with the hopes of dethroning a top pitcher?

"I think they should," Lee said. "That's what we do as well. That's what good offenses do. Those things happen. I hope they're very aggressive every game I pitch this year. I hope they swing early. Tonight my location wasn't as good as I would have liked it and they were swinging well. The combination, that's what the result showed."

Roy Oswalt takes the ball for the Phillies. Two matchups to watch: Alex Gonzalez is a liftime .400 (10 for 25) hitter off Oswalt. And Nate McLouth is a .333 (10 for 30) hitter against the righty.

Interestingly enough, Oswalt has never beaten the Braves. It's the only National League team he has failed to earn a win against. In nine career games (eight starts) vs. Atlanta, Oswalt has a 6.21 ERA.

Phillies
1. Shane Victorino 8
2. Placido Polanco 5
3. Jimmy Rollins 6
4. Ryan Howard 3
5. Ben Francisco 9
6. Raul Ibanez 7
7. Brian Schneider 2
8. Wilson Valdez 4
9. Roy Oswalt 1

Braves
1. Martin Prado 7
2. Nate McLouth 8
3. Chipper Jones 5
4. Brian McCann 2
5. Dan Uggla 4
6. Jason Heyward 9
7. Alex Gonzalez 6
8. Freddie Freeman 3
9. Brandon Beachy 1


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