Brad Lidge and the Phils continue their road trip in LA against the Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers threw up the white flag on their 2010 season Monday when they ‘waived’ goodbye to slugger Manny Ramirez.
After winning four consecutive games to give belated life to their playoff hopes, the Dodgers dropped back-to-back games at Colorado over the weekend to fall 6 ½ games back of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League wild-card chase.
Los Angeles opened a key three-game series at Dodger Stadium against the Phillies on Monday, without Ramirez, who was picked off the waiver wire by the Chicago White Sox. The Pale Hose, another fringe team in the playoff chase, obviously think they have a better chance than the Dodgers.
Philadelphia hits town oozing confidence after sweeping a three-game series over the weekend in San Diego. This is a far different Phillies team than the one that began this six-game trip fresh off a four-game home series sweep at the hands of lowly Houston.
More production from the offense would lead to a less stressful September for the two-time reigning NL champs, who trail the Atlanta Braves by 2 ½-games in the East.
Before Sunday’s 5-0 win, the Phillies hadn’t scored more than three runs in six straight games, and in nine of their last 10. Two of their five runs were unearned.
But with pitching performances like the ones Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton turned in against the Friars, they haven’t needed much.
Philadelphia held San Diego to three runs in its three-game sweep. In their last 18 games, the Phillies opponents are averaging just 2.6 runs per outing.
Kyle Kendrick (8-7, 4.64), the starter for Philadelphia on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the series, hasn’t been part of the Philadelphia pitching lollapalooza. The Phillies fifth starter is 1-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his last four trips to the bump. However, he has won five of seven on the road with a 3.87 ERA.
Philadelphia took two of three from the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park from August 10-12, with Kendrick taking the lone loss. He was chased in the fourth inning after surrendering five earned runs and eight hits and throwing 77 pitches. He has lost three of five career decisions against Los Angeles with an 8.14 ERA.
The Dodgers will once again call on Carlos Monasterios (3-4, 3.54), who is filling the void left by an injury to opening day starter Vicente Padilla.
Monasterios hasn’t pitched badly since re-joining the rotation on August 20. However, his lack of ability to go past the fifth inning has to be a concern. The team needed to use five relievers to finish the job in his last start on Thursday at Milwaukee.
Philadelphia arrived in Los Angeles on Monday toting a five-game road winning streak. The defending NL kingpins have also cashed 19 of their last 26 against teams on the plus side of the ledger and they have won 38 of 55 versus NL West competition, including five of six against the Dodgers.
The Phillies are 9-4 in Kendrick’s last 13 outings against West rivals, but just 1-5 in his last six road starts versus winning teams.
Los Angeles has come up short in 17 of its last 25 against clubs on the plus side. The Dodgers are 1-5 in their last six against Eastern enemies as well.
Philadelphia had dipped ‘under’ the baseball betting number in six straight road games heading into the series opener and the Phillies had dipped below the limit in 13 of their last 16 overall.
Philadelphia has topped the ‘total’ in 13 of Kendrick’s last 16 starts against NL West tenants and in 23 of his last 32 road appearances.
Five of the past six series scrapes have ended on the high side, though five of the last seven at Dodger Stadium have been low-scoring affairs.