Phillies, Marlins open second half with important series in NL East
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By Mark Simon, ESPN ResearchBaseball gets back up and kicking on Friday -- every team is in action, most for the first time in the second half. We'll see if some time off helped the Rays, who limped into the break on a seven-game losing streak.
"SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL"
|• Red Sox at Angels, 6:05 p.m. ET, ESPN|
Also, with the July 31 trade deadline approaching, the next two weeks will be interesting as teams decide whether to buy or sell.A look ahead at the weekend's best:
Best series• Phillies at Marlins If the Marlins want to keep themselves in the hunt in the NL East, it would serve them well to get off to a strong start in this series. The Marlins could end up in first place by the end of the weekend with a strong showing.
|Marlins at home vs. Phillies (past 2 seasons)|
|Runs per game||5.4|
|Hanley Ramirez||.348 BA, 4 HRs, 7 RBIs|
Best pitching matchup• Roy Halladay (TOR) at Scott Kazmir (TAM), 6:10 p.m. ET, Saturday With teams resetting their starting rotations for the start of the second half, there are some interesting matchups on the board. While Halladay closed out the first half of his season with three consecutive wins, Kazmir struggled mightily.
|Scott Kazmir's season|
|First 7 starts||Last 7 starts|
Best of the restVladimir Guerrero is known to swing at -- and hit -- just about anything. Need proof? Look at his numbers against Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. The matchup should be one of the more intriguing ones to watch on "Sunday Night Baseball", which starts at 6:05 p.m. because of the ESPYs.
|Guerrero vs. Wakefield (career)|
BBTN ON THE AIR: SUNDAY
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Analysts: John Kruk, Steve Phillips
|5 p.m. ET
|Host: Karl Ravech
Analysts: John Kruk, Steve Phillips, Eric Young
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BBTN MINUTE: RAYS SNAP LOSING STREAK
IF IT'S A TIE, IT'S A TIE
By Karl Ravech, ESPNBaseball fans got quite upset in 2002 when the All-Star Game ended in a tie. You could hear the same screaming coming again earlier this week when the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium just kept going. Let's make this simple: There is nothing wrong with the game. There is nothing wrong with the format. There would be nothing wrong if it ended in a tie.
THURSDAY'S NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
|• Troy Glaus went deep twice against the Padres, connecting on a solo shot in the second and another in the fourth in the Cardinals' win.||BAD|
|• Moments after being handed a 2-0 lead, Johan Santana gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning against Cincinnati.||UGLY|
|• Francisco Cordero gave up six hits and four runs in the ninth inning as the Reds turned an 8-6 lead into a 10-8 loss against the Mets.|
FANTASY: PREVIEW OF FRIDAY'S GAMES
Tristan Cockcroft examines the pitching matchups in store for the 15 games on Friday's schedule.
Tristan also looks at current injuries and details player reports that could help shape the way you put together your roster for Friday's games. Daily Notes
NEWS AND NOTES
• Magglio Ordonez went 1-for-5 in his return from the disabled list. He had been out since June 29 with a pulled oblique muscle. Ordonez is hitting .305 with 12 homers this season.