Philadelphia Phillies set to open series in St. Louis with the Cardinals
The Philadelphia Phillies open a weekend series tonight in St. Louis with a Cardinals club in the midst of a tailspin, having dropped seven straight to fall six games below .500 for the first time since the 2007 season.

“We know we’re being judged by the outside, but we have to be honest with ourselves with what we’re bringing and what it looks like,” manager Mike Matheny said following Thursday's 5-2 loss in Cincinnati. “And how we can improve it. That’s what we can control. We cannot control how we’re judged. We can control the product we put out there. There are days when we get real close and other days we’re a work in progress. Keep your head down and keep playing. However it’s viewed anywhere else, that’s their prerogative.”

Having shown some improvement over the past week, the Phillies enter St. Louis having dropped the final two contests of a four-game slate with Atlanta. Ben Lively pieced together another strong outing last night, but the offense was unable to master R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball en route to a 3-1 loss.

"It's always tough because it's different," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "You face a submariner baller and half of it is deception. A knuckleballer, you never see it. It's tough especially if he's got it working. [Braves catcher Tyler Flowers] missed at least half a dozen pitches, so you know it was dancing. You have to give him credit for having a good knuckleball tonight. We just couldn't get anything going."

Pitching Preview
Friday: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-3, 4.50) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-3, 4.67)
Saturday: RHP Nick Pivetta (1-2, 5.18) vs. RHP Carlos Martinez (4-5, 3.29)
Sunday: RHP Aaron Nola (3-3, 4.28) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (6-4, 4.82)

Injury Update
Joaquin Benoit (knee) is scheduled to toss a bullpen session today and could be activated from the disabled list as early as Sunday.

Power Rankings
The Phillies dropped two spots to 29th in our most recent Power Rankings, just ahead of San Diego. The Cardinals rank 21st.

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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