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Gut Check Time: Braves at Phillies, August 10-12

August 10, 7:35 pm: Phillies 5, Braves 4 - W: Hamels (13-5) L: Moylan (4-2) S: Gordon (6)

August 11, 7:05 pm: Braves 7, Phillies 5 - W: Mahay (1-0) L: Eaton (9-8) S: Wickman (19)

August 12, 8:05 pm: Phillies 5, Braves 3 - W: Moyer (11-8) L: Carlyle (7-4) S: Myers (9)

These are the kinds of series that, while they may not be determinative with respect to a team's chances to reach the postseason, but can go a really, really long way to clearing the road.

Three games in August against a major rival for the division crown as well as a Wild Card berth is just a little bit important, no?  A sweep by either team would be a major hitch in the loser's playoff aspirations, while a split of either variety would essentially maintain the status quo.

While a series victory against a so-so Florida team is acceptable in the scheme of things, failing to sweep might be the kind of thing that stick in our craw come September 29 when the Phils are one game out of the postseason yet again.  And let's hope other teams didn't watch the way Taylor Tankersley just absolutely owned Ryan Howard this series.  Phew.

The Phillies luck out and have to face neither Hudson nor Smoltz this weekend, both having pitched earlier in the week in Flushing.  Of course, it always seems like the Phils get flummoxed by rookies and journeymen, but that's just perception bias, right?

The Phils kick things off tonight with Cole Hamels, looking for his 13th victory, and then turn to Adam "5 1/3, 4 ER" Eaton for Saturday's contest.  Coach Moyer closes things out on Sunday.

Also, please visit our SBNation sister site Talking Chop for more on this series from the Braves' perspective.