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Kendrick speaks about the NL pennant race

At the start of the season, this weekend's three-game series between the Braves and Phillies appeared likely to have playoff implications. And it will. But instead of matching two teams competing for the National League East title, it will feature the NL Wild Card leader and a team hoping to stay in contention for the other spot.

The Braves enter the series with a commanding lead in the Wild Card standings and will have a chance to clinch a spot in the postseason this weekend, as their magic number is five. The Phillies, meanwhile, are one of three teams within four games of the Cardinals, who currently lead the race for the second NL Wild Card spot.

The Phillies will turn to right-hander Kyle Kendrick as they try to stay in the hunt. In his last start, Kendrick lost to the last-place Astros.

"It's tough to lose to a team like that," Kendrick said. "I can't say I did my job."

Right-hander Tommy Hanson will start for the Braves. Since returning from a strained back that forced him onto the disabled list at the end of July, Hanson has battled inconsistency. But his last three starts seem to have been a step in the right direction. In those starts, Hanson has a 3.31 ERA and has struck out 20 batters in 16 1/3 innings.

Hanson pitched well in his most recent start, a 5-4 Braves victory against the Nationals on Saturday. He overcame a pair of errors that led to two unearned runs to strike out seven and walk one batter in five innings, giving the Braves a chance to complete their comeback.

"I thought Tommy did a great job, the next three innings, settling down," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He kept his head and kept us in the ballgame.

Braves: Simmons, Janish injured in Marlins series
The Braves lost both starting shortstop Andrelton Simmons and backup Paul Janish to left shoulder injuries in their series against the Marlins this week. Simmons jammed his shoulder Monday and Janish dislocated his Tuesday. Neither played in the Braves' 3-0 victory Wednesday.

Gonzalez said Simmons could be able to play in Friday's series opener in Philadelphia, but Janish would be out longer. Janish returned to Atlanta on Wednesday for further tests to determine whether he will need surgery or not.

"They're going to do all the tests, whatever they got to do," Gonzalez said. "He won't play for a while right now. He won't play for a while because it's significant."

Phillies: Rollins' hot streak continues
Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-5 Thursday in the Phillies' 16-1 victory against the Mets, giving the shortstop a hit in 16 of Philadelphia's 18 games in September. Rollins has reached base via a hit or a walk in all but one game this month.

Rollins is hitting .338 with seven home runs and a .635 slugging percentage this month. The Phillies improved to 9-1 in September when Rollins scores at least one run.

Worth noting
• Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who will likely be playing for the final time in Philadelphia, is 8-for-26 with two home runs in his career against Kendrick. • Braves closer Craig Kimbrel has 38 saves this season, tied with Cardinals closer Jason Motte for the most in the National League. Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon is tied for third with 36 saves. Comments