The 27-year-old right-hander looks to help the Expos snap a four-game losing streak by winning his fourth straight decision in the opener of a two-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
Not only is Vazquez enjoying his longest winning streak of the season, he hasn’t allowed a run over his last 26 innings.
“I’ve been feeling good lately,” he said. “I’m throwing strikes. My pitches are working.”
Vazquez started the streak with a 6-5 win over Colorado on Aug. 13, allowing three runs over six innings. However, he then threw a three-hitter in a 4-0 win over San Francisco on Aug. 18 for his first shutout in nearly two years. Vazquez allowed just three hits over nine innings of Montreal’s 1-0, 10-inning loss to San Diego on Aug. 23.
In Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Phillies, he scattered four hits over eight innings, walking three and striking out 10 to increase his season total to 205—second in the NL behind Chicago’s Kerry Wood.
“He threw a lot more pitches than he threw the last time, but he got the same results—no runs,” Expos manager Frank Robinson said. “He’s getting it together and coming around at the right time.”
The Expos fell four games back of Florida in the wild-card race with Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Marlins, who completed a four-game sweep.
The Phillies’ three-game win streak ended with Monday’s 13-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox in a makeup game from their June interleague series. Philadelphia’s loss, coupled with Florida’s victory, dropped the Phillies one game behind the Marlins for the wild card.
The Phillies took a 9-7 lead in the eighth, but the Red Sox rallied for six runs in the ninth against Philadelphia’s beleaguered bullpen.
STANDINGS: Expos - 4th place, 17 GB, NL East. Phillies - 3rd place, 14 GB, NL East.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Vazquez (12-8, 3.14 ERA). Vazquez is 10-4 with a 4.09 ERA and two complete games, including one shutout, in 20 career starts against Philadelphia.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Amaury Telemaco (1-2, 4.50 ERA). Called up to replace right-hander Brandon Duckworth on Aug. 17, Telemaco has lost two straight starts since debuting with a 6-4 win over St. Louis—his first victory since June 6, 2001. The right-hander has allowed a combined seven runs over 11 innings in his two losses, including Thursday’s 4-0 setback to Montreal. He surrendered four runs and seven hits over six innings, striking out four and walking one. Telemaco is 2-4 with a 4.94 in 13 career appearances against the Expos, including seven starts.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .322 avg.; Vladimir Guerrero, 23 HRs; Orlando Cabrera, 71 RBIs, 87 runs and 21 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .319 avg.; Jim Thome, 37 HRs, 103 RBIs and 87 runs; Bobby Abreu, 18 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 9-8.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - Montreal is 4-18 on the road since the All-Star break. … Montreal has lost nine consecutive road series, a franchise record. The Expos last won a road series from June 27-29 at Toronto. … 2B Vidro, bothered by a sore knee, was held out of Monday’s game at his request. His status for Tuesday remains uncertain. Phillies - OF Abreu is hitting just .268 in 56 career at-bats against RHP Vazquez, but has four doubles, one triple, five homers and eight RBIs. … SS Jimmy Rollins has 21 hits in his last 17 games. … INF Placido Polanco sat out his second consecutive game Monday with a strained thigh. His status for Tuesday is undetermined.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 25-45 on the road; Phillies - 39-27 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - 2B Vidro (knee), day-to-day; C Michael Barrett (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Claudio Vargas (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 60-day DL; INF Fernando Tatis (chest), 60-day DL. Phillies - INF Polanco (thigh), day-to-day; 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP Terry Adams (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.