It’s the baseball version of the cinematic classic “As Good As It Gets” starring Roy Halladay and the Phillies. 

Tonight’s viewing is slated for 8:05 PM ET. The Wrigley Field forecast is calling for a 50 percent chance of rain with temperatures of 80 degrees, winds of 12 miles per hour out of the West Southwest and plenty of humidity.

Halladay (11-3, 2.45) is on pace for a second-straight Cy Young award as he faces the Cubbies in the series opener. He hasn’t lost since May 15 going 6-0 with two complete game victories and four no-decisions, games in which the Phillies eventually won. Chicago will go with Rodrigo Lopez who is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA and opened in the baseball betting as a +175 ‘dog compared to Halladay’s price tag of -205 while the books have not yet set a total.

The Cubs, who lost three out of four this weekend to Florida are now 20 games under.500 (38-58) with three games coming up against the best team baseball. Only the woeful Houston Astros stand between Chicago and last-place in the National League Central Division.

The Phillies begin the night with a 3.5 game lead in the NL East. They took two out of three over the Mets in a high scoring series in which all three games topped the total. The feel good story in Sunday’s game against New York was 28-year old rookie Michael Martinez who slugged his first major league homer, a blast that provided the margin of victory in an 8-5 decision. The win improved Philadelphia’s MLB best record to 59-35 with the Red Sox second at 56-36. If they stopped the season right now and had those two teams play in the World Series, I wouldn’t have a problem with it since that’s the way it could play out.

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If Philadelphia wins the division or even the wild-card, they can point to their play within the division as one of their keys to success. The Phillies are 29-16 against Eastern Division opponents with no other team in the big leagues is even close in that category except Boston which leads the American League with a 25-11 division mark.

Happy Anniversary

It was exactly one year ago when Halladay made his first post All-Star appearance at Wrigley Field and got crushed by the Cubs 11-6. This year Halladay arrives at the ‘Friendly Confines’ fresh off a perfect two-inning stint at this year’s midsummer classic. In his last outing the ‘Doctor’ settled for a no-decision in a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Braves working the first seven-innings and allowed two runs, seven hits and recorded eight strikeouts. Over his last ten starts he’s 6-0, the Phillies are 10-0 and the team is a remarkable 16-3 this season when takes the ball.

In his last outing against the Cubs, Halladay worked seven scoreless innings to come away with a 7-5 victory. It was his first victory in four career decisions against Chicago. Overall The Philly has taken 22 of 31 from the Cubs.

When you’re hot, you’re hot!

The Phillies Raul Ibanez is on a 15 of 38 tear in his past eight games while Jimmy Rollins is on a 20 for 50 streak covering eight games. Ryan Howard has feasted on Cubs pitching and is hitting .417 with six round-trippers in his past nine games.

The Cubs have been struggling offensively but Geovany Soto (.333) and Marlon Byrd (.308) are both hitting above .300 on the current home stand. Rookie Starlin Castro is batting .294 against the Phillies this season with two homers and eight RBI’s.

Still to come

Tuesday’s pitching matchup has Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.82) facing Matt Garza (4-7, 3.97) while Vance Worley (5-1, 2.15) and Ryan Dempster (7-6, 4.68) will meet in the series finale.

Harvey’s Take; Halladay is pitching on nine days rest, not including his All-Star stint. I know it’s a huge number but for me the ‘Doc’ is the only way to go. He’s won 84 percent of his starts and is the number one money pitcher in the majors having earned +1187 units for his backers.