Very little has gone right for the Philadelphia Phillies this season, but it appears the club is ready to make one final push as the calendar turns to August. Despite their record of 45-54, the Phillies have won four in a row and seven of their last 10. They're 14.5 back in the National League East and a run to the top would be unfathomable, but there's always the chance of a wild card bid if the hot play continues.
Ryan Howard (.244/.370/.556) and Chase Utley (.257/.349/.473) are finally healthy and producing, which has taken the load off of Carlos Ruiz's shoulders. Despite getting very little recognition, Ruiz is having an MVP-caliber season with a .345 batting average and .983 OPS.
This is now the Phillies team everyone expected to see all season long. Injuries and a lack of production killed them in April and May, and now it appears they've dug themselves into too deep of a hole to climb out of. This being said, they'll give the Braves everything they've got this weekend.
Here are the pitching matchups. The series will kick off a 10-day, 10-game home stand for Atlanta.
Friday, 7:35 p.m. EST - Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.23 ERA)
Saturday, 7:10 p.m. - Mike Minor (5-7, 5.49 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.70 ERA)
Sunday, 1:35 p.m. - Tim Hudson (9-4, 3.71 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (4-5, 4.32 ERA)