The Philadelphia Phillies were the hottest team in baseball until being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers last week. They look to get back on track when they open a three-game series against the same Brewers at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.
Philadelphia (24-22) had won 13 of 14 games entering its three-game set at Miller Park last week. Milwaukee (24-23) won each of those games by one run, sending the Phillies on a 2-7 slide.
Philadelphia beat the New York Mets 5-3 on Thursday to avoid being swept at Shea Stadium for the first time since 1997. After getting within one game of the first-place Mets on May 14, the Phillies are now four games behind New York in the NL East.
“When you’re losing, some days after one or two losses, you can pinpoint where you are,” said closer Tom Gordon, who converted his 14th save in 15 chances on Thursday. “For us, it seems like little things have happened. When you can’t pinpoint anything, that’s the toughest thing to go through. Right now, we need to become one team, play together and leave it on the field.”
Chase Utley had four hits Thursday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Utley is 11-for-20 (.550) with six runs and two doubles in his last four contests, and has hit safely in his last five games against the Brewers.
Milwaukee has won four straight meetings with Philadelphia and is looking to win five straight against the Phillies for the first time in franchise history.
The Brewers have lost 13 of their last 16 games at Philadelphia, though, and have dropped four of six games overall since last week’s sweep.
Left-hander Chris Capuano (5-3, 2.78 ERA) has opened the season with 10 straight quality starts, but looks to win consecutive games for the first time this month when he takes the mound for Milwaukee on Friday.
“It’s only 10 starts, only a month and a half,” Capuano said. “But I definitely feel like I’m pitching better than I did at any point last year. I feel more comfortable out there.”
Capuano won his first game since April 30 in his last start, allowing two earned runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 5-3 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
He allowed two runs over seven innings in a 3-2 win against the Phillies on May 16, but did not factor in the decision.
Cory Lidle (4-4, 4.80) started against Capuano on May 16, and will oppose him again on Friday.
Lidle allowed two runs in six innings against the Brewers in that contest, but also did not factor in the decision. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings in a 10-5 win over Boston on Sunday.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA in eight career starts against Milwaukee.
Brewers right fielder Geoff Jenkins is 10-for-15 with three doubles and six RBIs in his last four games against the Phillies. He is also 6-for-20 (.300) with two home runs and five RBIs in his career against Lidle.
Carlos Lee ended his 13-game homerless drought with his 16th homer of the season in Wednesday’s 6-2 win over Cincinnati, but is batting just .178 (8-for-45) against Philadelphia since joining the NL in 2005.