The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping some rain won’t halt their momentum.
The resurgent Phillies look to continue their climb back into contention as they play a twi-night doubleheader with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Phillies had won six of seven and 12 of 18 before Friday’s series opener was rained out. The hot stretch has not lifted Philadelphia out of last place in the NL East, but the Phillies are within two games of co-division leaders Atlanta and Florida.
“We were prepared to play,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. “We wanted to play. We want to keep the momentum going. We just have to wait another day.”
A big reason for Philadelphia’s surge has been solid starting pitching. Phillies starters are 11-4 with a 3.86 ERA over the last 18 games.
On Saturday, the Phillies will turn to a pair of starters who are headed in opposite directions in Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers. Padilla, who will start the opener, missed his last start with a strained back and hasn’t pitched since May 21.
A 14-game winner in 2002 and 2003, Padilla has yet to pitch past the sixth inning through seven starts. He has been shaky after missing most of spring training with triceps tendinitis in his right elbow.
“We definitely need him in the rotation,” Manuel said of Padilla. “I think he’s been a little leery of letting it go sometimes. I don’t know if it’s because of the (elbow injury) or what, but we got to get him going.”
Myers has emerged as the ace of the staff and has pitched great at home, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts. The 24-year-old right-hander saw his ERA climb over 2.00 (2.06) for the first time this season after allowing four runs and five hits over five innings in a 7-2 loss at Atlanta on Sunday.
One advantage the Phillies gained from the rain was the day of rest given to their bullpen. Ryan Madson and closer Billy Wagner each pitched in all three games as Philadelphia swept San Francisco with a 6-5 win Thursday.
The rain may have come at an opportune time for Arizona, which has dropped five out of seven. The Diamondbacks batted .227 in losses in the final two games of a three-game series with the New York Mets.
Arizona made a move to bolster its bullpen on Friday, acquiring veteran right-hander Matt Herges from San Francisco for minor league outfielder Doug DeVore. Herges was 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 21 games for the Giants before he was designated for assignment Sunday.
Diamondbacks outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. is hoping to put a rough series with the Mets behind him after going 1-for-13. Cruz is a career .191 hitter (13-for-68) in 18 games against Philadelphia.