The Philadelphia Phillies aim for a three-game series sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals in Thursday night’s only National League contest at Busch Stadium

Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals

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The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets meet in a three-game series starting tonight between National League East rivals at Citi Field

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

New York Mets OF Carlos Beltran has great numbers against Philadelphia SP Roy Oswalt

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The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies play the final contest of a low-scoring three-game series Sunday at Citizens Bank Park

Texas Rangers at Philadelphia Phillies

Texas tries to salvage what's left in its series with Philadelphia Sunday

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Philadelphia Phillies (25-15) AT Saint Louis Cardinals (23-19)
May 17, 2011 at 8:15 PM EST
Opening Moneyline:  STL -145, PHI +125
Current Moneyline:  STL -158, PHI +138
Opening Total:  7
Current Total:  7

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Philadelphia just snapped a two-game losing streak by picking up a come-from-behind victory over Milwaukee and now travel to take on the San Diego Padres

Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres

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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 Phillies are hoping some familiar faces return to the lineup in an important three-game series that may go a long way in determining the NL Wild Card race.

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies

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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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Houston Astros SP Roy Oswalt has absolutely dominated the Reds in his career, as he looks to become the franchise’s all-time leader in wins.

Cincinnati Reds at Houston Astros

Cincinnati is set to play the second game of this three-game series, which happens to be in the middle of playing 15 of 18 games versus NL Central opponents.  The Reds are in second place in the division for the sixth straight day after spending the previous 18 days on top of the standings.  “We’re trying not to scoreboard-watch too much, but it’s obvious that we do,” outfielder Jay Bruce said.  Cincinnati stands at 38-27 in night games this season (+1,130) with the total being 38-24 O/U in those contests.  The club also finds itself in an advantageous position, going 9-3 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this year (+750), which is consistent to the 36-29 mark its posted over the last three seasons.

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When you are handicapping baseball one of the easiest traps to fall into is the curse of the big name pitcher. Sometimes guys who have built a reputation up over years of excellence just aren’t performing at a level that matches that reputation. If you bet on them based on what they were or can be and not what they currently are then you’re just throwing away your money. There’s no value in the bets and there’s a much better chance than you expect that you are going to lose. Here’s a look at five guys with big reputations who haven’t been doing bettors any favors this season:

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