Red Hot Phils Invade Camden Yards

Fresh off taking two of three from the Braves and six of their last eight games, the Phillies march into Camden Yards to take on the Orioles. The Phillies are suddenly the hottest team in their division and this weekend offers an opportunity to gain more ground on the NL East leading Braves. Philadelphia is fighting for second place in the division, and another series win could catapult the team even closer to Atlanta in the top spot.

This past series has proved that the Phillies offense is finally coming around. It doesn't seem to matter who's in the leadoff spot, or who's hitting home runs, this team is just scratching and clawing out runs inning by inning. The Phillies are now only one half game behind the Expos for second place in the National League East, and this weekend is the perfect time to make their jump.

Historically, trips to Baltimore have been good for the Phillies. Remember last season's blast by Travis Lee to give the team a series sweep and momentum heading into the following week? Larry Bowa hopes this series will be much the same. Jim Thome suddenly has 18 home runs and 52 RBI this season, and a trip to Camden Yards may just boost his numbers even higher. Look out Eutaw Street, a Jim Thome home run could be coming your way.

Now, if only Larry Bowa could find a way to get Pat Burrell out of this funk he's been in all season long. Perhaps the party atmosphere of Oriole Park will lift his spirits, and the short fences entice him to launch a long ball or two by the end of the weekend. It seems that the lineup around him is suddenly on a tear, and Phillies fans, along with Burrell can only hope that success is contagious.

The series begins tonight at Beautiful Camden Yards in Baltimore. Pitching the opener will be Brandon Duckworth and Jason Johnson. Duckworth looks to make his first start in nearly a month, after rainouts have pushed back his previous two appearances. It will be interesting to see if rust has any affect on his game. Johnson is 6-3 with a 4.08 ERA, and don't be surprised if Phillies bats raise that ERA just a bit by the end of tonight. Brett Myers will take the hill in the second game and looks for another solid start following his complete game gem against Boston last Sunday.

Prediction:

The Phillies will be carried by their solid series victory against Atlanta into this series, and take the sweep.


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