Friday -- Phillies 9, D-backs 5; Philly gets to Miley, takes opener. Saturday -- D-backs 10, Phillies 6: Arizona roars back to win in 10. Sunday -- LHP Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.78) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (4-8, 4.22), 10 a.m., FOX Sports Arizona.
Up and down
The D-backs' return from the All-Star break has been up and down so far, as they opened with a sweep of the lowly Cubs but followed with a series loss to the first-place Tigers. The Phillies could keep the pendulum going, as they are tied with the D-backs for the third-worst record in the NL. The Phillies are 2-5 since the All-Star break and 20-32 at home this season, so the D-backs could get back on a winning track before a three-game series in Cincinnati.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
If Wade Miley on Friday pitches anything like the way he has through four starts in July, the D-backs should be well positioned to open the series with a win. So far this month, Miley is 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA. His last outing was the worst of the bunch, but he still only allowed three runs over seven innings. And after allowing 17 home runs over his first 15 starts, Miley has only allowed one in his last five.
Hill heats up
Second baseman Aaron Hill has found his stroke the past couple weeks after slumping early in July. Since July 11, Hill is batting .387 (12 for 31) with a .412 on-base percentage, four doubles two home runs and five RBI. His coming around has helped the D-backs play a little better, but it could also draw the interest of teams shopping the trade market. Hill's name has come up in various trade rumors recently, and his hot hitting will likely create interest.
The D-backs this weekend could see less of Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard than they are used to, as the once-feared slugger is struggling mightily at the plate to the point manager Ryne Sandberg suggested it may be a platoon at the position going forward. Howard, who's batting .224 with a .305 on-base percentage, was out of the starting lineup Wednesday and Thursday in favor of Darin Ruf, who was called up Monday.