The Phillies (68-59) will begin a four games series tonight with the Dodgers (65-62, 2nd National League West). The first game of the series will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (10-7, 5.01), who is coming off his second straight bad start against the Padres on August 16, where he is only able to go three and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-3 lost. His only start against the Dodgers this year, on August 11, would be an equally rough outing as he would only go three and a third innings, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 lost. He will be looking to rebound from those two loses, trying to regain his agressiveness and trying to knot his eleventh win of the season. His opponent, returning like a horror film nightmare, is Phillies’ killer Greg Maddux (6-9, 3.99), who has just been acquired by the Dodgers to take the place of injured starter Brad Penny. His last start before being traded was against the Phillies for the Padres on August 15, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, in the Padres’ 1-0 lost. This would be his first start as a Dodgers, but he has already faced the Phillies in two starts for the Padres, going 0-2 as he would pitch thirteen and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on thirteen hits. He will be trying for his first win this year against the Philles while trying to make it five straight wins against the Phillies for the Dodgers.
The Phillies will be trying to even up the season series with the Dodgers while trying to keep pace with the now streaking Mets, hoping that the offense will finally click in, while hoping that neither the defense or the bullpen is starting to show the strain of the 162 games grind. At the moment, the only ones among the Phillies’ bats who are still hitting are Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Chris Coste, and as a surprise, Carlos Ruiz, who has started to contribute. And it would appears that Chase Utley’s bat might be waking up as well after a 2 for 3 performance, including a RBI single. But as long as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell’s bats remains silent, the Phillies are going to continue having a tough time scoring runs.
The Phillies trails the Mets by two and a half games, as they host the Astros for four games, while the Phils are ahead of the now fading Marlins, who will be going to Phoenix to face the Diamondbacks for three games. The Phillies hope to put together a string of victories to put some pressure on the Mets like they did this time last year, but time for the offense to start busting out is slowly running out as the Phils have only 35 games left to play in the season, and twenty of their next twenty-three games will be against teams who are either divisional leaders or are involved in either pennant races or the race for the wild card. Time seems to be not on their side.