Lefties Cory Luebke (3-3, 2.57) and Cole Hamels (11-5, 2.71) toe the slab when the Padres and Phillies begin a sweltering-hot weekend set in South Philly. First pitch is 7:05 with game time temperatures near 100 degrees.
Regulars rising: These are the dog days, a time when the Phillies typically sputter, but the hometown nine has kept pushing the rock up the hill, managing eight-straight series wins. A lot of focus has gone toward unexpected surprises like Michael Martinez, Vance Worley, Antonio Bastardo and John Mayberry, and justifiably so. But as a result, the performance of several regulars has been overshadowed to some degree. Jimmy Rollins has been a key part of July, hitting .406 (26-64) with four homers in his last 14 games. Raul Ibanez is hitting .320 with four homers in his last 11 games. Chase Utley has reached base safely in 23-straight games. Ryan Howard has methodically taken over the league lead in RBI (74).
Trade talk: Nothing new. I'll remind everyone that Jim Salisbury suggested in a recent piece that Carlos Beltran is a very real possibility for the Phils. Salisbury rarely jumps into the hot stove fray, so his piece is an interesting clue to say the least. There are nine days until the deadline.
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