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Phillies-Pirates Series Ahead

Jun 3, 2011, 7:54 AM EDT

A quick look at the Phils and Bucs coming into the weekend's series, plus pitching matchups.

The Phils got a much-needed day off yesterday after playing 19 straight without a break. It wasn’t the best stopping off point, with their having lost a series in DC immediately before it, but that doesn’t change the fact that they still have the best record in the NL, second in all of baseball behind only the Indians.

Up next is a series with the Pirates, who are sub-.500 (as is their custom), but closer to the mark than usual. After the Phils went and dropped a series to the Nationals, the Bucs look even less like a team that can be counted on for a pair of wins against. Pittsburgh is coming off of a high-scoring split at New Shea, which followed a series win at Wrigley. Sure, the Cubs and Mets both kinda suck, and the Mets came back from a seven-run deficit yesterday, but the Pirates showed some ability to scrap in some runs over the past week, and the Phils definitely gave up a few. The Pirates also recently took two games apiece versus the Tigers and Reds before dropping a pair to the Braves (thanks a lot, Buccos).

PITCHING MATCHUPS
Tonight: Cole Hamels faces Jeff Karstens
Saturday night: Kyle Kendrick gets Roy Halladay’s imitator, Charlie Morton
Sunday: the real Halladay vs. James McDonald

FINALLY…
Shane Victorino is back with the team and could play tonight, marking the first time the Phillies lineup will be intact all season, with Chase Utley coming off the DL while Vic was on it. Hard to know whether the Hawaiian is fully ready, but it will be nice to see the finally order as it is intended.

For more on Charlie Morton, check out this post by Phrontiersman over at TheFightins last week, Ryan Lawrence’s story today, and this video: