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Can we rely on Utley, Hamilton and Cruz?

Updated: May 23, 2011, 3:49 PM ET
By Eric Karabell
The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies might have set offensive baseball back about 30 years in Philly this past weekend, combining for nine runs between them in three games. Yet there is good news: Both teams welcome back arguably their best offensive players Monday. The Rangers are scheduled to activate outfielders Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz from the disabled list, while the Phillies finally get to see second baseman Chase Utley make his season debut after he missed 46 games.

Not to take anything away from the terrific pitching this weekend, as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Matt Harrison were borderline dominant and the closers did their job as well. But these pitchers also got to face the likes of Endy Chavez, Craig Gentry and Wilson Valdez. Hamilton, Cruz and Utley are obvious upgrades. Concerned about run support for your Rangers and Phillies pitchers? Well, it's about to get better. That's especially notable for the Phillies, who haven't scored more than three runs in a game in 10 contests yet have the best record in the National League.

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