MLB Odds: Phillies at Petco to play Padres

By: Jimmy Sirody | Thursday, August 26, 2010
Mat Latos

Mat Latos will take on Roy Oswalt on Friday in the weekend series opener.

The Philadelphia Phillies hopped on a plane for San Diego on Thursday, where the chase for a fourth consecutive postseason berth intensifies.

A three-game weekend set at Petco Park against the team with the best record in the National League may be just what the Phillies need to break out of their recent malaise. Philadelphia has a tendency to play down to the level of its competition, but the defending NL champs have risen to the occasion against elite competition.

The Phillies took a three-game losing skid into Thursday’s series finale at home against Houston. They lost three straight because they scored two runs in each game, wasting strong starts by Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay.

Of course, scoring more than two runs against San Diego ace Matt Latos (13-5, 2.33) is likely to be a stiff challenge in Friday’s series lidlifter.

Latos has yielded two or fewer runs in each of his last dozen starts and three or fewer runs in his last 19 starts. The Padres pushed his outing back two days to give him extra rest.

San Diego reached a milestone with Wednesday’s 9-3 rout of Arizona when it surpassed last season’s win total of 75. The victory, coupled with San Francisco’s loss to Cincinnati, increased their lead in the NL-West to 6 ½-games.

If the Friars go 18-19 the rest of the way, the Giants will have to win 23 of their last 34 games to tie San Diego.

Philadelphia is more than happy to get out of town and step up in class. The Phillies have won six of their last seven on the road and they are 52-25 recently against NL-West tenants.

Philadelphia has also won 11 of its last 13 against winning teams, though it has dropped 11 of 16 on the highway versus a team with a win percentage of greater than .600.

Roy Oswalt (9-13, 3.22) looks to continue his hex against the Padres when he takes the mound on Friday. He has won 10 of 12 his last 12 career decisions against San Diego with a 2.56 ERA.

Oswalt faced the Padres twice this season while pitching for the Houston Astros. The veteran right-hander limited them to three runs and six hits over eight innings and whiffed nine on May 9 at Minute Maid Park en route to a 4-3 victory.

Oswalt and Latos matched pitches at Petco Park on July 2 and the Padres prevailed, 3-0. The former Astros’ ace tossed seven shutout innings of three-hit ball, while fanning seven.

Latos came up short against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 4, yielding three runs and four hits in five innings with six punch outs and four free passes.

Philadelphia and San Diego split the first four meetings in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Padres have kept the pedal to the metal despite their comfy division lead. They had won three straight and 14 of their last 17 prior to Thursday’s finale against Arizona and 14 of 17 at Petco Park.

San Diego is 7-1 against the baseball money linein its last eight against right-handers and 10-2 in Latos’ last dozen trips to the hill.

Philadelphia has prevailed in seven of its last nine against the Friars and won 21 of 29 road meetings.

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