Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (86-64) at Philadelphia Phillies (89-61)

With only twelve games left in the regular season, the Phillies are heating up at just the right time. September is their month, as they’ve proven over the last few years, and this September is no different. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley seem to have regained their form, and it’s safe to say that the team has the best trio of 1-2-3 starters in all of baseball in Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt. Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick have improved a bit over their last few starts, and the team is just coming together. It’s inexplicable, this September surge, but it sure is fun to watch.

Is it me, or did that sound like a bad T-Mac voiceover introing tonight’s game? Sorry about that.

The Phillies go into this three-game series against the Braves three up in the National League East. This series is a must-win for the Fightin’ Phils. It won’t be easy; even without slugger Chipper Jones, the Braves still have a lot of power in their lineup, including Nate McLouth, who has been on fire as of late, as well as rookie Jason Heyward and Derrek Lee. Unfortunately for the Braves, ace Jair Jurrjens will not be available for this series due to a sore right knee (Braves have announced they will start 24-year-old Minor Leaguer Brandon Beachy in Jurrjens’ place Monday night against Cole Hamels). Even more unfortunate for the Braves, their lineup will be facing that sick trio of Hamels, Halladay, and Oswalt.

About a week or so ago, Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel addressed the media during his postgame press conference and stated that he’d like to go into the final series of the season against Atlanta up four games with three to go. If the Phillies continue playing the way they are, coming up with big hits and big plays when they’re most needed, he just may get his wish.


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