(Sports Network) – Cliff Lee was able to frustrate the Dodgers in last night’s opener of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Roy Oswalt will try to deploy a similar tactic tonight and avoid a fourth straight losing decision as he takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies, who seek a fourth straight victory over Los Angeles.
Oswalt, who has pitched to a 1.96 earned run average over his last four starts, was last in action on Wednesday in Washington and suffered a 2-1 loss. The 33-year-old righty allowed both runs on six hits and two walks over five innings and 79 pitches, exiting early after being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the Phils needing some offense.
“That’s their decision,” Oswalt told the Phillies’ official website. “[Charlie Manuel’s] the manager of the team. I don’t really question too much of that. We’ll see how it goes next time.”
Oswalt is now 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA in nine starts this season and is an excellent 8-3 with a 2.84 ERA in his career when facing the Dodgers.
He’ll try to keep Los Angeles’ offense in check one night after Lee struck out 10 batters over seven scoreless innings to guide Philadelphia to a 3-1 victory. Lee, who gave up six runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss in his previous outing, yielded seven hits and one walk while recording his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season and 15th of his career.
“I’m not trying to strike guys out,” said Lee, who leads the majors with 100 strikeouts on the season. “I’m trying to get outs as quickly as possible.”
Placido Polanco and Ryan Howard hit RBI singles in the third inning for the Phillies, who picked up a second straight victory in the opener of a season- long 11-game homestand and lead both the Marlins and Braves by four games for first place in the National League East.
Howard, third in the NL with 47 RBI, has driven in five runs over his past three games, while Los Angeles’ Matt Kemp, who has 48 RBI on the season, went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts after notching 13 RBI over his previous six games. That included eight runs driven in over his past two games.
With Kemp held in check, Los Angeles didn’t get on the board Monday night until a pinch-hitting Andre Ethier plated a run in the ninth inning with a fielder’s choice grounder. It was such an impeding night for the Dodgers’ offense that Casey Blake was ejected in the sixth inning after arguing a called third strike.
“We weren’t able to get that hit to break through,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Los Angeles wasted a solid outing from Ted Lilly, who gave up two runs over six innings as his club saw a modest two-game win streak come to an end. The Dodgers have now split the first four games of a 10-game road trip.
With Jon Garland out due to right shoulder inflammation, 22-year-old Rubby De La Rosa will make the first start of his major league career for the Dodgers this evening.
De La Rosa, Los Angeles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year a season ago, is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three relief outings since making his MLB debut on May 24 after being recalled from Double A. The right-hander has allowed a run over five innings, striking out five, and was holding opponents to a .199 batting average in 40 innings with Double-A Chattanooga prior to his recall.
The Phillies took four of six from the Dodgers a season ago.