The teams with the most wins in the majors start a three-game series tonight in Philadelphia as the Phillies (55 wins) and Braves (53) square off.
The red-hot Braves, who have won four straight and nine of their last 10, send Brandon Beachy to the mound, while the Phils (winners of seven of their last 10) counter with Roy Halladay. Halladay is 6-0 with a 2.69 ERA in his last nine starts and the Phillies have won each of them.
Halladay is 11-3 on the season, the seventh straight campaign that he has won at least 10 games by the break. Only three times since 1975 has a Phillies starter had 12+ wins before the break (Curt Schilling in 1999 and Steve Carlton in 1977 & 1980).
Beachy is winless in four starts against the Phillies, going 0-3 with a 5.00 ERA including his major league debut last Sept. 20 in Philly. The last time he faced them (May 13) he had to leave after two innings with a strained oblique. However, since returning from the DL, Beachy is 2-0 with a 2.65 ERA in three starts.
The Braves have won the last two series against the Phillies, taking two of three in each.
In other games Friday:
Josh Beckett and the Red Sox host the Orioles. From the Elias Sports Bureau: Beckett has permitted fewer hits than innings pitched in each of his last 11 starts, the longest single-season streak of that sort by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez had an 11-game streak in the 2000 season. The last Red Sox pitcher with a longer streak of that kind was Carl Mays: 12 straight starts allowing fewer hits than innings, in 1918.
Also from Elias: Minnesota's Joe Mauer has a hit in each of his last six at-bats against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd. The longest current streak of consecutive hits by one active major-leaguer against another is eight, by Andruw Jones against Jason Marquis.