(Sports Network) – A side story to all of the Philadelphia Phillies’ success this season has been starting pitcher Vance Worley.
Worley is certainly making some headlines and has the honor of trying to pitch the National League East-leading Phillies to a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers today at Chavez Ravine. He is 6-0 with a 1.79 earned run average in his last nine starts and the Phillies have won all of them. Worley’s last start occurred in Friday’s 9-2 win at San Francisco which was highlighted by a benches-clearing incident.
The right-hander wasn’t phased by the fracas in the sixth inning and tossed seven frames of two-run ball to lift his record to 8-1 in 15 games (13 starts) with a 2.35 ERA. Worley owns a 4-1 mark in eight games, six of which have been starts, and a 2.52 earned run average on the road in 2011. He has won four straight outings as the visitor.
Philadelphia has been a rude guest on this 10-game trek in which it owns an 8-1 mark. It swept Colorado to start the road swing, took three of four from the Giants and are lined up for a sweep in Los Angeles after co-aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee took care of business on consecutive nights. Now it’s up to Worley to finish off the Dodgers, who were the recipients of a 2-1 loss Tuesday night thanks to both Lee’s left arm and bat.
Lee fanned 10 batters over eight shutout innings and scattered four hits to lift his record to 12-7. The southpaw helped himself with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning.
“I never thought that would happen. I got a 2-0 pitch out and over the plate, and when I made contact I was pretty sure it was gone,” said Lee.
Ryan Madson allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth before settling down for his 21st save. Jimmy Rollins opened the scoring with an RBI double in the third inning for the Phillies, who are 15-4 in a stretch of 20 consecutive games and won their eighth straight road series. The Phils have outscored their opponents 92-54 during the lengthy run and a victory today would give them their best 10-game road trip and their third-best trek of any length in franchise history.
Philadelphia is 36 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1977 season and will return to the City of Brotherly Love for a six-game homestand versus Washington and Arizona.
Los Angeles keeps falling out of the NL West conversation at 11 games off the pace and looks to at least salvage the finale of this series. Ted Lilly’s effort Tuesday night was trumped by the heroics of Lee, but the Dodgers’ lefty was superb through eight innings of work, allowing both runs and six hits with five K’s and one walk on a night the team honored the late Duke Snider.
“Ted threw really well tonight. When you face anyone on their staff, you have your hands full,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Jamey Carroll had two hits and Casey Blake finished 2-for-4 with his club’s only RBI of the night in the ninth inning. Matt kemp went 0-for-4 with a run scored and two strikeouts, and had reached base safely in 16 straight games. Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon returned from a shoulder injury suffered on Saturday and aggravated the issue on a swing during the eighth inning. He was removed from the game and is expected to undergo an MRI Wednesday.
“It’s more a concern now because it came back,” Gordon said. “Let’s see what happens. Let’s see how it feels tomorrow.”
The Dodgers, who have dropped three in a row since winning four of five games, will welcome Houston to town for a three-game set this weekend and are scheduled to send Chad Billingsley to the mound for Wednesday’s matinee. Billingsley has won five of his last eight starts and was previously in action in Friday’s 7-4 win over the Diamondbacks. He allowed three runs in six innings for his 10th win of the season (10-9) in 23 starts with a 4.17 ERA.
Billingsley, a right-hander, is 5-4 in 11 home starts this season and 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies.
Philadelphia won two of three games versus the Dodgers in early June and owns an 8-2 mark in the last 10 matchups between the two ballclubs. The Phillies have outscored the Dodgers, 100-74, in the last 22 encounters.