The San Francisco Giants are a sizzling 74-22 when scoring at least three runs.
The Philadelphia Phillies
have two strong incentives this weekend. They would like to finish ahead of the Atlanta Braves
in the National League East standings
, and they would also like to garner the best record in the league.
The top National League team this year gets the luxury of the division series with the extra day off, which means manager Charlie Manuel could start Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt every game at full rest.
The Phillies begin a three-game series against the New York Mets on Friday at Citizens Bank Park with a six-game lead over the Braves in the division and a six-game cushion over the rest of the teams in the NL.
If the Phils clinch this weekend, Manuel will have a week to rest some of his regulars and let his starting pitchers taper down for what he hopes will be a postseason run that lasts into November.
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New York will provide a challenge in the series opener when it sends knuckle-ball specialist R.A. Dickey to the mound to oppose Joe Blanton.
The Mets are 4-0 in Dickey's last four starts as a dog of 1.10 to 1.50. However, the Phillies are 5-0 in Blanton's last five starts, and 24-8 in his last 32 as a home favorite.
New York has lost five straight as short-enders, nine of 13 on the highway and six straight against division foes. Philadelphia has won four of five versus the Mets at Citizens Bank Park and four of the last five encounters overall.
The Colorado Rockies must break out the brooms against the San Francisco Giants this weekend at Coors Field or their season will be swept under the rug.
Remember when the Rockies were destined to keep playing brilliantly, brilliantly enough to catch San Diego and San Francisco, because they played so well in past Septembers? They've lost four straight and six of their last nine to fall four games off the pace in the West.
If the Giants score enough runs, they will win the division going away. They're 74-22 when scoring at least three runs - the best in the majors. In addition, the San Francisco rotation is at the peak of freshness. The Giants haven't allowed more than three runs in their last 17 games.
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However, the Rockies are 51-24 at Coors Field and they have cashed seven of the last nine versus the Giants at home. In addition, Tim Lincecum has lost his last four in Denver.
Colorado leads the season series 8-7, so home field advantage for a one-game playoff could be at stake.
San Diego returns to Petco Park to open its final homestand of the regular-season trailing the Giants by one-half game. The Padres finish the season next weekend at San Francisco. Their next six games at home will be against NL-Central citizens Cincinnati and Chicago.
The Reds, on the verge of locking up the Central crown, haven't fared well against the Friars, losing five of the last six meetings and four straight at Petco Park.
Tampa Bay will be keeping one eye on the scoreboard and one eye on the Seattle Mariners this weekend. The Rays completed their heavy lifting Thursday, pulling out of Yankee Stadium with a series split after losing the first two games.
Tampa Bay now has the luxury of playing their final 10 games against the Mariners, Baltimore and Kansas City, while New York faces Boston six times and finishes the season with six straight on the road.
A deep slump has overtaken the Texas Rangers on the road. The Rangers are hitting just .199 during their current 10-game trip and they have scored just 14 runs.
Texas lost the series opener on Thursday at Oakland, but it still leads the A's by seven games with 10 remaining. However, the Rangers have lost five of the past six with Oakland overall and five of six in the Bay Area.