The teams will be hard-pressed to match last night’s 24 combined runs, with a pair of solid right-handers facing off.

Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies

Los Angeles may have finally broken out of its offensive slump, scoring a combined 23 runs in the last two games, including 15 in a Tuesday night victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.  “We hope to give the pitching staff a little confidence and let them know their offense is clicking,” outfielder Andre Ethier said.  “At the same time, it gives us a little confidence.”  The team averaged just 2.5 runs in its first 23 games after the All-Star break before this two-game outburst.  The Dodgers are still just 3-10 at Citizens Bank Park since 2008, which includes five postseason games.  The club is a dismal 2-8 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 this season (-520) and the total in those games is 4-6 O/U.  Los Angeles has won five of its last six games against the NL East, but still stand at 11-13 versus the division this year.

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The Braves lead in the NL East is now just 2.5 games as they host the struggling Mets at Turner Field.

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

New York has dropped 15 of its last 21 games, including a 14-1 blowout loss to the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.  “It definitely hurts your pride a little bit when you perform in that manner,” manager Jerry Manuel said.  “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.”  The Mets now head to a field where they’ve dropped 15 of their last 20 meetings.  The team has taken five of the first eight meetings between the two clubs, but they’ve yet to win a season series over the Braves since the 2006 season.  Offensively, the club is hitting just .210 with 54 runs scored and 15 home runs in 17 games since the All-Star break.  New York is 19-20 against divisional opponents this season (-350) and the total is 16-22 O/U in those contests.  The Mets will try to avoid dropping to the .500 mark for the first time since June 2, when the team stood at 27-27.

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Two contenders in the National League start the month of August looking to capture a series victory.

Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds

Atlanta continues to lead the NL East division, but its lead has been cut due to losing five of eight games on its current road trip.  The Braves did make a couple moves at the trade deadline, picking up outfielder Rick Ankiel and relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth from Kansas City.  “Ankiel’s a tremendous outfielder, a great athlete,” Chipper Jones said.  “Hopefully he helps solidify things out there.”  The club is still a tremendous 18-9 against the NL Central, which is their best winning percentage against any division this season.  Atlanta is also 20-15 in day games this season (+380) and the total is 19-16 O/U in those contests.  The team is averaging 4.0 runs per game under the sun and hitting for a combined .256 average, while opponents are scoring 3.8 and batting .236.  Atlanta has gone 26-31 in August the last three years (-820).

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The Nationals look to make it five straight with their heralded rookie on the mound against the division-leading Braves.

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

Atlanta enters this series with the second-biggest division lead in the majors, leading the Phillies by 4.5 games, while having a 15.5 game advantage on tonight’s opponent.  The Braves have alternated wins and losses over the past six games and managed to lose just its second series since May 10th in dropping two of three games against the Florida Marlins over the past weekend.  The club left 11 runners on base in a 5-4 defeat on Sunday.  “You led the other team off the hook that many times, eventually they’re going to cash in and beat you,” said third baseman Chipper Jones.  From an offensive standpoint, catcher Brian McCann has been doing his part since being named the All-Star Game MVP, hitting three home runs and driving in 14 runs in his last 10 games.  Atlanta is 7-4 when playing with a day off this year (+280) and the total is an even 4-4 O/U in those contests.

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Bettors must acknowledge some interesting series stats between these two clubs for Sunday’s finale.

Atlanta Braves at Florida Marlins

Atlanta used an eight-run eighth inning to capture a 10-5 win over Florida at Sun Life Stadium on Friday night.  “I can’t explain this ballgame,” manager Bobby Cox said.  “It’s hard enough to explain Friday night.  It’s baseball.”  The Braves are now 5-3 against the Marlins this season and moved their record to 18-16 against divisional opponents (-100).  The total is 11-20 O/U in their games against the NL East in 2010 and 76-93 O/U the last three years.  With today’s game being a rubber match, it’s important to note that the club is 16-1-4 in its last 21 series dating back to May 10.  Rookie outfielder Jason Heyward continues to lead the chase for NL Rookie of the Year, hitting .387 since being made active from the disabled list on July 15.  He went 3-for-3 with two walks and two runs last night.  Atlanta has averaged 5.7 runs per game and hit for a .277 combined average in compiling an impressive 20-12 daytime record (+760).

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Tonight’s matchup features two teams that are desperately trying to stay within striking distance in their respective divisions.

New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers

New York stumbles into a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers after losing 4-3 in 14 innings on Wednesday and getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The Mets are dismal 19-30 on the road this season (-930) and have fallen 6.5 games back of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.  New York is 3-10 in its last 13 games and 8-16 over its last 24 games.  Offensively, the team has been held to four runs or fewer in 12 straight games, as the club has compiled a 3-9 record over that stretch.  In their last seven games, the Mets have managed to score first just once, with the team being 9-28 when the opponent draws first blood.  Expect a possible bounce back performance in tonight’s change of venue, with the team being 5-3 after three or more consecutive losses this season (+340) and 26-19 in this spot the last three years (+1,240).

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The two division rivals have been involved in low-scoring affairs the last nine meetings.

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

Atlanta has pushed its lead in the NL East standings to six games with its current five-game winning streak after shutting out the New York Mets 3-0 at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.  “It’s good to be in first place going into the break,” said manager Bobby Cox.   The Braves are now a season-high 17 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season.  The latest win pushed its daytime record to 18-11 this season (+660) and the total moving to 16-13 O/U with just four runs posted on the scoreboard.  Atlanta is averaging 5.6 runs per game offensively while holding teams to 4.2 runs with a combined .238 average.  The club is 17-14 versus the division this season (+10), but a dominating 13-3 in their past 16 meetings.

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The Phillies seek their sixth home series victory of the season with a seasoned veteran on the hill.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta ended a two-game skid with a 6-3 extra-innings victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and quieted the home town media about making a run at the first place team.  “All you heard last night, whether you were watching television, listening to the radio, was the fact this series was going to turn the momentum around,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.  The club is now 3-2 in July (+70) after going 17-11 in June and 20-8 in May.  Atlanta gets set to deal with a left-handed starter for the 26th time this season, posting a 12-13 record in those games (-260) and 63-68 mark the last three years (-1,500).

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The Phillies are in need of a big run before the All-Star break and hope their talented left-hander delivers in the second game of this three-game series.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

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The Phillies turn to their ace in the opening game of a crucial NL East series at Citizens Bank Park.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta comes into this crucial NL East showdown two games ahead of the New York Mets.  The Braves won all three series of its recently completed homestand, but it ended with a 3-2 loss to Florida on Sunday.  The loss was only the fourth in Atlanta’s last 24 home games and ended the club’s three-game winning streak.  The Braves now must leave their MLB-best 30-10 home record and head on the road.  Atlanta stands at 18-24 overall on the road (-650) and is 93-111 away from Turner Field over the last three years (-1,330).  The offense will find itself in a precarious spot this evening, managing to bat just .232 over the last seven games and .249 overall on the road this season.  Opposing pitchers from the NL East have also held the Braves to just 3.5 runs per game within the division.

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