(Sports Network) – Roy Oswalt has yet to pitch at home since his recent trade to the Philadelphia Phillies, or record a victory with his new team for that matter. The veteran hurler will take another shot at accomplishing that second goal when he makes his Citizens Bank Park debut in a Philadelphia uniform in tonight’s matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Oswalt has made two starts since being acquired from the Houston Astros just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, recording a loss and a no-decision in those outings. The three-time All-Star surrendered five runs (four earned) in six innings of a July 30 setback at Washington, but bounced back with a sharper effort against Florida this past Thursday. Oswalt shut out the Marlins over the game’s first six innings, but was touched for a pair of runs in the seventh and wound up not factoring in the final outcome of Philadelphia’s 5-4 win.
The right-hander has dropped three straight decisions overall and has endured a trying 2010 season, as he leads the majors with 13 losses despite having registered a solid 3.50 earned run average in 22 starts. A lack of run support has certainly played a role in that high loss total, with Oswalt’s teams having mustered only one run total over the course of his last three defeats.
Judging by past results, Oswalt is going to enjoy pitching in his new home stadium. During his tenure with the Astros, the 32-year-old prevailed in all four of his starts at Citizens Bank Park and owns a 2.60 lifetime ERA at the venue.
Oswalt also sports a 6-3 mark along with a 3.47 ERA in 10 career encounters (nine starts) with the Dodgers, whom he’s yet to face this season.
The Phillies will be asking their new addition to help the team put behind a lopsided loss in Tuesday’s opener of this three-game series. Los Angeles started off a week-long road trip on a very high note, busting out 18 hits in outslugging Philadelphia by a 15-9 count.
The Dodgers roared out to a 7-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings and had the first six players in the lineup collect multiple hits in the much-needed win. Andre Ethier led the charge by going 4-for-4 with three RBI and four runs scored, while Jay Gibbons had three hits — including a homer — and knocked in three runs on the night. Casey Blake added a two-run homer and drove home two more runs with a single for Los Angeles, which had lost nine of its last 10 on the road coming in.
“We did some things early in the game, we moved some people, we manufactured some stuff and then we had some big hits,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “I was very pleased with the offense.”
Los Angeles’ offensive barrage made a winner out of Vicente Padilla (6-3), despite the ex-Phillie allowing four runs and six hits over the first five innings. He was still able to outpitch counterpart Kyle Kendrick (7-5), who was tagged for six runs (five earned) and eight hits before being lifted after only 3 1/3 frames.
“It’s frustrating, you never want to pitch bad,” said Kendrick afterward. “You’re going to have bad outings. Obviously you don’t want to have them right now, it’s a tough time to have them.”
Tuesday’s loss, only the fourth in the past 18 contests for the Phillies, spoiled outstanding performances from both Ross Gload and rookie sensation Dominic Brown. Gload belted a pair of two-run homers and finished 3-for-5 on the night, while Brown went deep for the first time in his big-league career and also knocked in four runs for the game.
Raul Ibanez went 1-for-4 for the Phillies last night to extend his career-best hitting streak to 17 games. The outfielder is batting .397 (25-for-63) with four homers and 16 RBI over the course of his tear.
Philadelphia fell to 2 1/2 games back of first-place Atlanta in the National League East race after the Braves defeated Houston on Tuesday, and remain a game behind Wild Card co-leaders Cincinnati and San Francisco at the moment.
The Dodgers were able to gain some ground in the Wild Card standings with last night’s victory, with Torre’s squad now trailing the Reds and Giants by 4 1/2 games.
Chad Billingsley will attempt to pitch Los Angeles to a fourth straight win and maintain his recent strong form when he opposes Oswalt in tonight’s tilt. The 2009 All-Star has posted an outstanding 0.98 ERA along with a 2-1 record over his past four starts and had a string of 25 consecutive scoreless innings end in Thursday’s matchup with San Diego.
Billingsley not only lost his streak against the Padres, but the game as well after giving up three runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss. The Dodgers have had trouble scoring for the right-hander as of late, managing a total of just five runs over his last four starts.
The 26-year-old is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four regular-season starts versus Philadelphia, but was shelled in playoff appearances at Citizens Bank Park in each of the past two years. Billingsley lasted only 3 1/3 innings in a relief role during the Dodgers’ 11-0 loss to the Phillies in Game 3 of last October’s NL Championship Series.
Philadelphia took all three matchups at home in defeating Los Angeles in five games during last year’s NLCS, but the Dodgers have won in three of their last four visits to Citizens Bank Park in the regular season.