A quick look at the stretch run

Chipper Jones and the Braves will face Ryan Howard and the Phillies in six of the last twelve games of the season. (File Photos)

It is shaping up to be one of the more interesting stretch runs in recent years, mostly because the Phillies and Braves appear to be on a collision course for the final two weeks of the season, when the two teams face each other in 6 of their final 12 games.

But there will be plenty of action until then, since half of the National League's 16 teams still have a legitimate shot at the postseason. One of those teams, the Dodgers, is in town today for the start of a three-game series against the Phils. The Phillies announced before the game that they have recalled lefthander reliever Antonio Bastardo.

Here is a look at the remaining schedules of each of the top eight teams in the NL.

1. Phillies

Record: 62-49 (15-9 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 22-18

Games remaining vs. Contenders: 19 of 51

Key stretch: Six of their last 12 games are against the Braves, including a three-game series in Atlanta to end the regular season.

2. Braves

Record: 64-48 (12-12 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 22-19

Games remaining vs. contenders: 17 of 50

Key Stretch: Aside from their late-September series against the Phillies, the Braves host the Cardinals for a four-game set in the second week of September. St. Louis swept the Braves in Missouri in April.

3. Reds

Record: 64-49 (12-12 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 17-24

Games remaining vs. contenders: 19 of 49

Key stretch: They are starting it right now. Five of their next 9 series are against the Top 8 teams in the NL, including two series against the Cardinals. But they have what looks to be a less-strenuous September, with two series against the Astros, and one against the Pirates and Diamondbacks.

4. Cardinals

Record: 62-49 (15-8 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 17-15

Games remaining vs. contenders: 21 of 51

Key Stretch: Their schedule shapes up nicely. Of their eight remaining road series, two are against the last-place Pirates, one is against the last-place Nationals, and two others are against the struggling Astros and Cubs. Their season-ending four-game home series against the Rockies should be an interesting one.

5. Padres

Record: 64-46 (13-9 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 24-24

Games remaining vs. contenders: 29 of 52

Key Stretch: The Pads have a brutal September. Four of their last six series are on the road: at Colorado, a four-game series at St. Louis, at the Dodgers and at San Francisco. And one of their two home series during that stretch is against the Reds. The good news is that the Padres are 7-1 against the Giants, who they play 10 games against the rest of the way. The bad news is they are 9-15 against the rest of the NL West.

6. Giants

Record: 64-49 (17-8 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 21-28

Games remaining vs. contenders: 30 of 49

Key Stretch: Their ability to win the division could depend on their ability to beat the aforementioned Padres. They have a tough road swing at Citizens Bank Park and in St. Louis next week.

7. Rockies

Record: 58-53 (9-14 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 23-23

Games remaining vs. contenders: 36 of 51

Key Stretch: They finish the season with a four-game series in St. Louis, whom they swept at Coors Field in early July.

8. Dodgers

Record: 58-54 (9-15 since ASB)

Record vs. Contenders: 29-25

Games remaining vs. contenders: 34 of 50

Key Stretch: Pretty much the rest of the way. Only 16 of their remaining games are against teams in the bottom half of the league. Tonight marks the start of a tough seven-game road trip through Philadelphia and Atlanta, which is followed by home series against the Rockies and Reds.