(Sports Network) - After showing signs of breaking out of their lengthy offensive slump, the struggling Philadelphia Phillies' bats went right back to square one last time out. The possible return of Jimmy Rollins could help the club move forward once again.
Rollins could take the field for the first time in a month this evening, when Philadelphia begins a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies went 8-17 during a 25-game stretch from May 18-June 15, hitting just .217 as a team while averaging a horrid 2.5 runs per game. They then hit .285 and averaged eight runs per game in four contests -- three of those wins -- prior to getting held to just four hits in a 4-1 setback to Minnesota on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Philadelphia fell to 5-7 in interleague play this season, and the three-time defending National League East champions are now a season-high 5 1/2 games behind Atlanta for first place in the division.
"We keep doing things well but don't catch some breaks and we feel like we have to restart a little bit. We need to get it going in the right direction," said Roy Halladay, who fell to 8-6 on Sunday after allowing four runs -- three earned -- over eight innings.
Philadelphia's Wilson Valdez homered for a second game in a row, but his roster spot could be in jeopardy with Rollins' return looming. Valdez and Juan Castro have filled in for the injured shortstop this year, and one figures to be moved off the roster once Rollins returns.
That could be as soon as tonight for the 2007 NL MVP, who has missed the last 26 games since landing on the disabled list for the second time this season due to a strained right calf. He is batting .341 with two homers, seven RBI and 11 runs scored in 12 games this year.
His return would be welcomed by 47-year-old starter Jamie Moyer, who has sandwiched a pair of outstanding outings around one of the worst of his career.
Moyer went the distance for the second time this season on June 5 versus the Padres, throwing a two-run complete game. However, he was then tagged for nine runs while recording just three outs in Boston on June 11.
The left-hander rebounded versus the Yankees on Wednesday, holding the defending World Series champs to just a pair of runs on three hits and a walk over eight innings to improve to 7-6 with a 4.76 earned run average this season.
Moyer is 3-2 with a 3.42 ERA in five home starts this year and is 10-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 30 career outings against the Indians.
While Moyer has done well at Citizens Bank Park this year, Indians starter Mitch Talbot has been a more effective pitcher away from Cleveland. The 26- year-old is 7-5 with a 4.21 ERA for the season, but 4-2 with a 2.56 ERA in six road starts.
Talbot is coming off a horrid home outing versus the Mets on Wednesday, when he gave up eight runs and 13 hits -- both career highs -- over 5 2/3 innings. It marked the first interleague start of the right-hander's brief career.
The Indians are just 4-8 versus the NL this year and have lost six of their last seven games after dropping Sunday's rubber match of a three-game series versus Pittsburgh by a 5-3 margin.
Carlos Santana fell a triple shy of the cycle for Cleveland and clubbed a two- run homer to go along with an RBI double. The rookie catcher is hitting .393 with two homers and eight RBI in his first nine MLB games.
Tribe starter Justin Masterson allowed two runs over six innings, but Cleveland's bullpen allowed three runs, two earned. The Indians also had runners on second and third with nobody out in the eighth inning while the game was tied, but the next three batters were all retired.
"We didn't execute and that's why we lost," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta.
The Indians took two of three from the Phillies when the clubs last met in Cleveland in 2007 and visit Philadelphia for the first time.