Philadelphia’s homestand isn’t going very well so far.
The Phillies look to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they continue their three-game interleague series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies (33-34) lost 10-4 to the Devil Rays in Friday’s series opener, falling to 0-4 on their current nine-game homestand. Philadelphia has lost five straight overall for the second time this season.
The Phillies also dropped five in a row May 16-20, ending a 13-1 stretch, but have not lost six straight since Aug. 12-19, 2004, when they lost seven in a row.
Jimmy Rollins drove in a pair of runs Friday for Philadelphia, which fell under .500 for the first time since it was 13-14 on May 3. The Phillies are in second place in the NL East, 9 1/2 games behind the Mets.
“It’s a concern to see where we’re at and where we’ve gone in the last week,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Devil Rays (28-40) own the second-worst record in the American League and came into Friday’s game hitting a major league-worst .240, but picked up 13 hits, including seven for extra bases. Julio Lugo homered twice, and Damon Hollins fell a triple short of the cycle in his first four-hit game.
“We did a little bit of everything, timely hitting and pitching,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Scott Kazmir (7-4, 3.38 ERA) will look to help Tampa Bay clinch the series win. He allowed four hits in five scoreless innings of Tampa Bay’s 13-inning, 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Monday, but did not receive a decision.
The 22-year-old left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts after winning each of his previous five.
“Kaz pitched really well,” manager Joe Maddon said Monday. “His pitch count was a little high for five innings (98 pitches) so we got him out of there.”
Kazmir, who has never faced Philadelphia, needs two strikeouts to become the 23rd lefty since 1900 to reach 300 strikeouts before his 23rd birthday.
He will face another 22-year-old pitcher in Scott Mathieson, who is making his major league debut after going 6-2 with a 3.05 ERA at Double-A Reading. Mathieson, who pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, was picked in the 2002 first-year player draft along with Kazmir and Cole Hamels, who started Friday for the Phillies and lasted just 3 2-3 innings.
Kazmir was chosen in the first round by the New York Mets with the 15th pick, and Hamels was taken by the Phillies two picks later. Philadelphia picked up Mathieson in the 17th round.
“This year, my goal was to come up here and help the Phillies,” Mathieson said. “I didn’t expect to be up here this soon. But here I am. It’s awesome.”