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Dueling Aces: Dickey vs. Hamels Tonight with Possible Ryan Howard Return Tomorrow?

Jul 5, 2012, 5:27 PM EDT

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A bit of surprising chatter coming out of the Phillies camp this afternoon as word on the street is that General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. would not rule out Ryan Howard returning to the big club this weekend as they take on the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park before heading into the All-Star Break.

“It’s a possibility,” Amaro said today on Daily News Live. “I don’t know that it’s going to happen, but it’s
certainly a possibility.”

The Big Piece potentially back in the lineup. That should brighten a few days. Beat writer David Murphy believes a Friday night date with Tim Hudson could be just what the Piece ordered in a return. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there’s tonight’s dueling aces.

Two of the best pitchers in the National League this season will face off in the series rubber match tonight at CitiField.

Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08) will face knuckler R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15) in the first matchup of two pitchers with double digit wins this season.

Dickey has been baffling opposing hitters with his junk for the better part of two months. From CSN:

Dickey’s numbers are simply mind-boggling. He’s allowed no earned runs
in six of his last seven starts. He’s pitched two one-hitters and has
five double-digit strikeout games. He’s registered a quality start 21 of
his last 24 times out.

Yikes. Picture Shane and Hunter swinging at some of that junk.

Chase Utley gets his scheduled off day this evening with Mike Fontenot manning second base. Manuel mentioned that Utley could potentially play three in a row at CBP this weekend given that they have the break right after the Braves series.

7:10 start time. Gotta win some series here if you want us to take you seriously the rest of the summer, Phillies. Still 12 games back of the Nats in the East.