Kyle Kendrick looks to extend his dominance of the Braves on Saturday night amid a weekend series that could play a critical role in how the Phillies assess their playoff chances and approach the July 31 Trade Deadline.
"Everybody saw what the Oakland A's did last year, we could do that easily," Phillies center fielder Ben Revere said. "We have a good enough team. In baseball, anything can happen. The team we have right here, we can go on a run just like that."
Kendrick has not lost a start against the Braves since July 25, 2008, with a 7-1 record and 2.86 ERA in 19 career appearances, including 13 starts. He was knocked around for four runs on a season-high 10 hits in his last start, a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles in which he was the victim of a four-hit night from Yasiel Puig. Kendrick also sustained a mild concussion when Stephen Fife hit him in the head with a pitch in the sixth inning, but was cleared to make his next start.
Tim Hudson had the chance to erase a 10-start winless streak on the two-month anniversary of his last victory, but after seeing his start pushed back one extra day due to lingering neck stiffness, he will take the mound on Saturday.
The Braves opted to swap Hudson for lefty Paul Maholm for Friday night's series opener, giving Hudson two extra days of rest and allowing Maholm to pitch on regular rest.
Hudson won the first road start he made this season on April 13 in Washington, but has lost seven straight road decisions since.
The Braves have struggled away from Turner Field of late, going 4-8 over their two road trips since June 6 to drop three games below .500 heading into this six-game road trip through Philadelphia and Miami. However, they've been good enough at home to preserve the largest first-place lead in baseball.
As a starter and a reliever, Kendrick has shared the mound with Hudson five previous times in his career. The Braves hold a 2-1 advantage in games where both pitchers are the starters and a 4-1 advantage overall.
Braves: Ayala called up to replace Gearrin in 'pen
• After spending over two months on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, Luis Ayala rejoined the Braves before the start of this series. The anxiety disorder was believed to be a product of Ayala finding out that he had high blood pressure.
Ayala replaced struggling right-hander Cory Gearrin, who had compiled a 9.90 ERA and allowed opponents to produce a .509 on-base percentage in his last 11 starts.
In six appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett since June 20, Ayala had allowed six earned runs and five walks while striking out five batters. Before his trip to the DL, he had made five appearances for Atlanta, surrendering two earned runs and three walks after being traded from Baltimore on April 9.
Phillies: PNC Park demons silenced
• With Thursday's 6-4 win over the Pirates, the Phillies pulled off a mid-week series win over the owners of the best record in baseball in a stadium that has not been kind to them. The Phillies had not won a series in Pittsburgh since April 25-27, 2008.
"It's good, this ballpark owes me some wins," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. "It beat me up when I was in Cleveland. It hasn't been good to me."
Heading into Friday's action, only four teams had more road losses than Philadelphia's 27, although the Phillies have played more road games than any other team.
• Friday's game began a stretch of 26 out of 41 games against NL East opponents for the Braves.
• Braves catcher Gerald Laird and manager Fredi Gonzalez were ejected Friday for arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez after Laird struck out in the third inning. Laird was making his first start behind the plate since June 26.
• Dan Uggla's 27 home runs against the Phillies since 2006 are the most of any player over that span. Uggla went 2-for-4 on Friday with a towering three-run home run that got the Braves on the board in the seventh.
• Cliff Lee extended his unbeaten streak to 12 starts Friday in the Phillies' 5-4 win, pitching six scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the seventh.
Eric Single is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.