The Atlanta Braves come to town this week for a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies currently have a three-game lead in the NL East over the Braves, and the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies surging out west, the Braves may very well be playing for their postseason lives.
Here's a breakdown of what to expect from this showdown.
After essentially taking the summer off, the Phillies offense has once again caught fire.
The Phils are hitting .299 as a team with a shocking .868 team OPS, and everyone from Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez is knocking the ball around.
Meanwhile, the Braves offense is looking to finish the season the way they started it: in a funk. The Braves are hitting .255 as a team in September, and have only eight home runs after hitting 37 in August.
By flip-flopping Kyle Kendrick and Roy Oswalt during their most recent starts, the Phillies have lined up Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Oswalt for this series.
At the moment, Halladay is probably the third-best starter for the Phils, as Hamels has allowed one earned run in his last four starts and Oswalt has allowed six runs in his last six starts.
Meanwhile, the Braves will be throwing Jair Jurrjens, rookie Mike Minor, and Tommy Hanson. Minor looks like he could be quite the pitcher some day, with 41 strikeouts in 37 innings this season, but he also has a 5.84 ERA, so that time is not now.
I'll defend Phillies closer Brad Lidge and set-up man Ryan Madson until the cows come home, but Billy Wagner and the Braves bullpen have been electric this season.
Wagner and reliever Johnny Venters each have an ERA under 2.00, and no one in the bullpen has an ERA worse than the league average.
The key for the Phils here will be to make sure they don't need their own bullpen, and to make sure that the Braves don't get any leads for their own bullpen to protect.
Phillies fans love Charlie Manuel, and they have every right to as he's done a great job in Philly over the last five years.
However, Bobby Cox is a managerial legend for the Atlanta Braves, and at this point his looming retirement after this season alone provides the Braves with momentum.
It has been an injury-plagued season for the Phillies, and while suffering through the injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz was trying for the team, it also had an unintended benefit: the bench players got lots of playing time.
From Ross Gload to Mike Sweeney to Greg Dobbs to Ben Francisco, the Phillies are loaded with guys who have accumulated significant at-bats in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Braves have a bunch of seasoned guys on their own bench who have made questionable contributions in 2010.
Nate McLouth, Melky Cabrera, Troy Glaus, and Eric Hinske really play more like underachieving starters than they do over-achieving role players.
On July 21, the Atlanta Braves opened up a seven-game lead over the Phils in the NL East. Since that day, the Phils have gone 41-15 while the Braves have gone 31-25.
Since Sept. 1, the Phillies are 15-3, while the Braves are 8-9.
After scoring four runs in the bottom of the ninth to complete a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals at home on Sunday, the Phillies have now won seven games in a row and nine out of 10.
The Braves just finished a sweep of their own over the Mets in New York, and have now won three in a row and six of their last 10.
Here's what you have to realize about the Atlanta Braves: this is a team that is 52-23 at home in 2010 but only 34-41 on the road.
Really, when you get the Braves on the road, you're playing an entirely different team than when you get them at Turner Field.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are 50-28 at home and 39-33 on the road in 2010.
Essentially, this is a matchup of a very good team (Phils at home) vs. a very bad team (Braves on the road).
(And, this is also why it is crucial that the Phils win this series: they do not want to have to go to Atlanta for the last series of the season needing wins in Atlanta.)
Game 1 features a matchup between Cole Hamels and Jair Jurrjens.
Hamels has not allowed a run at home since Aug. 24. Meanwhile, Jurrjens has allowed 11 earned runs in 8.2 innings pitched over his last two starts.
Game 2 pits Roy Halladay against rookie Mike Minor.
Halladay hasn't really been "on" lately: he has a 4.41 ERA over his last five starts, and has allowed nine home runs during that span.
Of course, in three September starts Minor has a 9.00 ERA and has almost as many earned runs (14) as he does strikeouts (15).
Game 3 pits Tommy Hanson against Roy Oswalt.
In 10 starts with the Phillies, Oswalt is 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA, including 5-0 in five games at home.
Hanson, meanwhile, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA over his last five starts.
This one has all the makings of a Phillies sweep, and on paper it should be.
But, never count out a team on the cusp of elimination playing with desperation.
If the Braves don't make up at least one game against the Phils, it could all be over for their postseason hopes, so they'll know what their playing for.
And whenever we think we've got a series figured out, somehow the teams surprise us.
As the old saying goes, that's why they play the games.