The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves close out their weekend series with a pair of aces on the mound on Sunday afternoon at Turner Field

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

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The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are set to begin an important NL East series on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

The Atlanta Braves are a dangerous underdog Friday night

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The Phillies look to regain the top spot in the NL East division, but will have to fight off the Fish to get there.

Florida Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies

Florida gained a split in the Labor Day doubleheader and has actually gone 5-5 over its last 10 games.  The Marlins earned a 7-1 victory in the first game to improve their record to four games over .500 for the first time this year, only to drop the second game and fall to 70-67 at the end of the night.  “It’s a long shot, but we’re going to keep playing hard,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said about the team’s playoff chances.      The club is 4-3 in Philadelphia this season, but is trailing the season series 5-8 overall and own a all-time record of 131-149 against the Phillies.  Florida has a solid 32-28 mark against divisional foes this season (+360) and the total is 32-25 O/U in those contests.

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The Dodgers send their ace to the hill in trying to capture a three-game set, as the team plays its second game without the services of outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers

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The Braves will look to improve upon their 18-1-2 home series record this season with the first of three games against the Mets at Turner Field.

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

New York finished off its current homestand with a 3-3 record and now embark on a 10-game trip, which will serve as the team’s longest this season.  The Mets record has also not been more than one game above or below .500 since July 31, when they were 53-51.  The starting staff has been doing its part, posting a 3.42 ERA since the All-Star break, the fourth-lowest mark in the majors during that span.  Only Oakland (2.66), San Diego (3.36) and Atlanta (3.40) have a lower ERA.  The club has a 23-29 record against divisional opponents this season (-850) and the total is 23-28 O/U in those contests.  New York is winless in eight games this season as a road underdog of +150 to +175 (-800) and 5-12 in this situation the last three years (-390).

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The Braves are in position to win their 18th home series of the year in Sunday’s series finale against the Marlins.

Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves

Florida fell 12-3 in the second game of this three-game set in Atlanta, falling 8 1/2 games back in the NL East race.  The 12 runs allowed were a season-high by the Marlins and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco managed to last just two innings.  “I just stunk.  I didn’t throw anything where I wanted to,” said Nolasco.  The club still has seven  meetings remaining in the season series which includes today’s series finale at Turner Field.  The Fish expect rookie outfielder Mike Stanton to get the start in right field this afternoon after not starting in the previous two games.  Also, third baseman Wes Helms is also expected to return after sitting out the first pair of games in this series.  Florida still holds a solid 27-23 record against divisional opponents (+460) and the total is 26-21 O/U in those contests.  The Marlins also possess a winning 17-15 mark in daytime games and are 64-58 under the sun the past three years (+1,060).

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The Phillies must get their offense back in gear in order to avoid being swept at Citizens Bank Park for the first time against today’s opponent.

Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies

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The Phillies are almost at full strength offensively and face off against a former teammate at Citizens Bank Park this evening.

Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies

Houston salvaged the final game of a three-game series in Florida with a 2-1 victory at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday afternoon.  The Astros now move on to Philadelphia where they have a 12-7 all-time record at Citizens Bank Park and a 26-16 overall mark against the Phillies since the start of the 2004 season.  Tonight’s contest is the fourth game of 10-game road trip against the NL East, as the club is 9-14 versus the division this season.  The starting staff has carried the load recently, posting a 2.54 ERA in the last 13 games, with the team compiling a 7-6 record in that span.  Houston is 34-55 against right-handed starters this year (-1,000) and the total is 44-41 O/U in those contests.  It’s also important to note the team is 5-8 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 in 2010 and a dismal 22-36 in this situation the last three years (-580).

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The Cubs will be facing off against a former teammate this afternoon in the first game of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.

Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

Atlanta starts this three-game series with a new first baseman in the fold, as Derek Lee joins the team and will face his former ball club out of the gate.  Lee spent seven seasons in Chicago and hit .298 with 179 home runs and 574 RBI over that span.  “The main thing is we’ve got six weeks to go and Atlanta’s in first place,” he said.  “They’re playing great baseball.  A chance to go to the postseason, it’s hard to pass up.”  The Braves went 5-2 on its last homestand and now head off on a six game road trip.  Atlanta is 27-33 on the road this season (-800) and the total stands at 29-28 O/U in those contests.  The team is also 10-9 as a road favorite of -125 to -150 (-180) in 2010 and 22-22 in this situation the last three years (-760).

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The Braves handed the Dodgers their worst defeat in three years on Sunday afternoon and now look to capture the series at Turner Field.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

Los Angeles suffered a 13-1 blowout defeat in Sunday’s contest against the Braves at Turner Field and have lost 13 of 16 on the road.  “We had opportunities, couldn’t get the big hit, nothing you can do about it,” manager Joe Torre said.  The loss was the largest margin of defeat this year, as the team is without regulars Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin.  The three runs the Dodgers have scored in the last two games have come on outs, as they are 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the series.  Los Angeles has posted a 6-5 record after allowing 10 or more runs in a game this season (-90) and are 9-17 in this situation the last three years (-1,340).  The club is a disappointing 4-10 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 and the total is 5-9 O/U in those contests.  As this series ends, Los Angeles is assured of returning home without consecutive second-half road wins, as they last accomplished this feat on July 3-4 in Arizona.

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