The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies kick off their interleague schedule Friday night in the opening contest of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park

Texas Rangers at Philadelphia Phillies

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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 Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins will battle it out in the second game of their series with a high profile pitching matchup on tap at Sun Life Stadium

Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Marlins

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Philadelphia has its trio of aces lined up to face the San Francisco Giants in the National League Championship Series.

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies

San Francisco defeated the Braves 3-1 in their National League Division Series and now the level of competition raises even further against the two-time defending Senior Circuit champion.  The Giants are playing in the National League Championship Series for the fifth time and has logged a 2-2 series mark in their previous trips.  Philadelphia’s staff may be getting all of the attention, but San Francisco’s starters finished with a 0.93 ERA in four games versus Atlanta, which was the third-lowest ERA by an NL rotation in a postseason series.  The two teams split six games during the 2010 regular season with each team taking two of three games in its own ballpark.  San Francisco won each of its final five road series beginning on July 5, posting the best road winning percentage in baseball with a .643 mark over that span (27-15).

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The Phillies will be without one of their top sluggers in the opening game of this three-game series in South Florida.

Philadelphia Phillies at Florida Marlins

Philadelphia continues to be bit by the injury bug, as All-Star first baseman Ryan Howard has traveled back home to have his left ankle examined by the team physician.  “It’s just swollen.  It’s tight, sore.  Other than that, it’s not too, too bad,” Howard said.  The Phillies are already without the services of second baseman Chase Utley and outfielder Shane Victorino.  The club has earned an even 4-4 record in its first eight meetings with the Marlins, but took two out of three at Sun Life Stadium in May.  The Phillies are 11-3 in their last 14 games in Miami.  Philadelphia enjoyed an off day on Monday and looks to even up its record in this situation, as the team is 5-6 this season after receiving a day off (-290).  The Phillies are 34-24 after a day of rest the last three seasons overall (+660).

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A rematch of the 2009 NLCS is set to take place in Philadelphia, with both teams struggling since the All-Star break.

Colorado Rockies at Philadelphia Phillies

Colorado comes into Philadelphia with a 2-5 record on its current 11-game road trip, after losing three of four in Florida.  “We’ve got to find a way to win a couple more games on this trip,” manager Jim Tracy said.  It may prove tough for a turnaround in Philadelphia, a place where they’ve lost six of their last seven games.  The club has 10 road series left on the season with seven of those against teams above .500.  The Rockies have done a great job in bouncing back from defeat, posting a 27-17 record this year after a loss (+1,020).  Colorado has also been great in starting off a series in winning fashion, going 7-2 in the first game of a series.

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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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The much-improved Reds may find themselves as a +150 or higher home underdog for the first time this season.

Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds

Philadelphia picked up a 9-6 extra-innings victory in the middle game of this three-game series, while ending Cincinnati relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes record-tying scoreless innings streak for a reliever.  The Phillies guaranteed at least a .500 record in June (13-12, +90 ), as the team has gone 131-134 in the month over the last 10 seasons.  Philadelphia has enjoyed success against the NL Central Division in 2010, moving its record to 12-4, including sweeps of Houston and Milwaukee on the road.  Over their last 13 games (9-4), the Phillies have scored 87 runs and hit a combined .273.  Philadelphia finds itself as a road favorite of -150 to -175 for just the fourth time this season (-120), with the total being 3-1 O/U in those games.

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Aces are wild in a rematch of last year’s World Series tonight in the Bronx

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

Philadelphia stumbles into this rematch of the 2009 World Series with a discouraging 8-16 mark since May 17, which is the second-worst record in the National League over that span.  The offense has averaged just 2.5 runs per game over the timeframe, which is actually the worst in baseball.  2B Chase Utley will look to break out of a long slump, managing to produce just a .153 average and no home runs since May 20.  The Phillies have historically had problems during interleague play and its no different this year.  Philadelphia is 2-4 (-310) against the American League this season and 18-32 (-1,790) over the last three years.  The club is also a disappointing 5-9 (-1,020) against left-handed starters, after going 72-50 (+700) versus southpaws the past three years.

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San Diego comes into this weekend series winners of eight of its last 11 games, including a successful 6-3 homestand.  “We just want to keep plugging away,” Padres OF Tony Gwynn said.  The Padres dropped five of the seven games against the Phillies last season and look to gain revenge of being swept at Petco Park over that span.  This is certainly a different San Diego team, a unit that has posted a 29-15 record over its last 44 games.  The Padres have been especially good against winning ball clubs, compiling a 16-6 (+1,200) mark that’s far-different from the 74-97 (-590) record over the last three seasons.  When looking to play a total on Friday night, it’s interesting to note that the Padres have gone 7-14-2 O/U away from its pitcher friendly ballpark. 

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