Atlanta holds a firm grip on the top NL Wild Card slot heading into the series, and it will counter with Mike Minor, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm. The Phillies, meanwhile, will need a hot September to avoid finishing with a losing record for the first time since posting an 80-81 mark in 2002.
The Braves have lost or split four straight series -- one each to Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco and San Diego -- and will be looking to get back on the winning track at home. But it won't be easy against Halladay, who has gone 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA in eight starts since returning from the disabled list.
The right-hander missed all of June and half of July while recovering from a strained right lat muscle, and that time on the shelf will add up to his first season without pitching 200 innings since 2005.
Minor, the seventh overall selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, has had an uneven season that has seen him post a 3.72 ERA in 12 home starts and a 5.73 mark in 12 road starts. Minor has a 2.45 ERA in his last eight starts, but he's been saddled with a 2-4 record over that span.
The Phillies are 30-32 on the road this season, and they're 3-9 against the Braves. Atlanta has outscored Philadelphia, 64-41, through the first 12 games in the series. The Braves have gone 36-29 at home this season and 30-21 against National League East teams this season.
Phillies: Halladay less dominant this year
Halladay, who has led the league in innings pitched twice in the last five years, has been less dominant than usual this season. The veteran has led the league in complete games in five straight seasons -- notching at least seven in all of them -- but has yet to finish a game this year.
Kevin Frandsen went 4-for-5 on Thursday, his fourth three-hit game since Aug. 16, and is batting .355 in 29 games for the Phillies this season. Manager Charlie Manuel said earlier in the week that the 30-year-old will receive the majority of the playing time at third base, pushing longtime starter Placido Polanco to the bench.
"If I can't play, I can't play," said Polanco, who has battled a back problem and other injuries this season. "He's the manager. Right now, my hands are tied. I can't really say much. I played the other day [Aug. 22] and I hurt it again. What am I going to say? Put me in? I told him if I was healthy, then this would be another conversation. But I'm not healthy."
Braves: Chipper plays last game in San Diego
Chipper Jones crossed another city -- San Diego -- off his list on Wednesday, and he'll head into Friday's series opener against Philadelphia in a bit of a slump. Jones has just three hits in his last five games, but he's batting .304 for the season and .286 (38-for-133) since the All-Star break.
Jones, who has said he will retire after the season, holds the National League record with 454 home runs by a switch-hitter. There has been an appreciation ceremony in many of the road cities he has visited, but Jones will hope to close out his distinguished career with another playoff berth.
Halladay is four victories away from No. 200 for his career.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard needs five homers for No. 300.
The Braves went 9-18 down the stretch in September last year.