The Philadelphia Phillies are quickly losing the momentum they had for the first half of the month.
They’ll try to avoid their longest losing streak since 2004 when they wrap up a three-game interleague series with the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies (22-20) lost 5-3 to the Red Sox on Saturday for their fifth straight defeat. They had not lost five in a row since last Sept. 3-7 and have not dropped six straight since Aug. 12-19, 2004, when they dropped seven in a row.
The losing skid comes on the heels of a 13-1 run that had the Phillies one game out of first place on May 14. Philadelphia now trails the first-place New York Mets, who have dropped eight of 12, by three games.
“It seems real quick,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “It seems like we looked up and we were seven games over .500 and things were going our way. We’ll get better.”
The Phillies have lost seven straight interleague games, and six straight against the Red Sox. Boston (25-15) has also won six in a row at Philadelphia.
“It’s amazing. We’ve got to get the opposing pitcher out. It’s been killing us the way they hit us,” Manuel said.
Lenny DiNardo, who will start the series finale for Boston, does not have any career at-bats.
Shortstop Alex Gonzalez broke an 0-for-17 slump with a two-run eighth inning homer for Boston.
DiNardo (1-1, 6.17 ERA) earned his first career victory in his last outing, allowing two runs, one earned, and two hits in five innings of a 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on May 7. The left-hander missed his next turn in the rotation on May 13 because of a rainout against Texas.
“I wanted him to pitch in Philadelphia,” manager Terry Francona said. “If he pitches like he should—that ball flies out of that ballpark. He’s a groundball pitcher. (I’m) just trying to match up some strengths.”
DiNardo made his only career appearance against the Phillies on June 26, 2004, allowing two runs and four hits in 1 2-3 innings of relief. He did not receive a decision in the Red Sox’s 9-2 loss.
DiNardo will square off against Cory Lidle (3-4, 4.84), who allowed two runs and five hits in six innings of Philadelphia’s 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday, but did not receive a decision. He was coming off a disastrous outing against the New York Mets on May 10, in which he lasted a career low-tying two innings and gave up eight runs, five of them earned. That start was his shortest since Oct. 3, 1999 against the New York Yankees, while he was with Tampa Bay.
Lidle is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in 11 career appearances, including six starts, against the Red Sox.