Los Angeles (64-60) at Philadelphia (65-58)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue Aug 21, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Although their division title hopes seem to be slipping away, the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers continue to battle for the wild card when they open a three-game series Tuesday.

The Phillies (65-58) have dropped two straight to fall five games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets, but are just a game back of wild card-leading San Diego.

The Dodgers (64-60), meanwhile, led the West by 1 1/2 games on July 26, but are now six games behind first-place Arizona in third. Los Angeles is 2 1/2 games behind the Padres.

“From here on out, every game is going to be important no matter who we’re playing,” Los Angeles catcher Russell Martin told the team’s official Web site. “We’re going to play a couple teams that are in the hunt, as well, so it’s going to be some good baseball from here on out, starting with Philadelphia.”

The Dodgers, losers of eight of their last 11 road games, play 16 of their next 19 away from Los Angeles. They’ve won four of their last five games at Citizens Bank Park, though.

The Dodgers rallied to defeat Colorado 4-3 on Sunday on Ramon Martinez’s go-ahead two-run single in the eighth inning. Los Angeles has won four of five after going 4-15 in the previous 19 games to fall from the division lead.

Outfielder Matt Kemp is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two homers and five RBIs in his last five games, and is 8-for-24 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in seven career games against Philadelphia.

While the Dodgers have turned things around after a rough stretch, the Phillies blew four-run leads in losing their last two games. They allowed Pittsburgh to score all its runs in the seventh and eighth innings of Sunday’s 8-4 defeat.

“Right now, you try to go home, forget what happened and right the ship,” said slugger Ryan Howard, referring to this 10-game homestand that also includes San Diego and the Mets.

Philadelphia has not lost three in a row since June 29-30.

Jimmy Rollins hit his 22nd homer of the season Sunday and finished the weekend series 5-for-14 with two RBIs and six runs. Howard, though, was hitless in three at-bats in the series finale and is mired in a 4-for-33 (.121) slump, with one homer in his last nine games.

The reigning NL MVP has had no problems against the Dodgers this season, however, going 4-for-12 with three homers and five RBIs in three games.

Howard is also 4-for-5 with a homer and a double in his career against Tuesday’s starter Brett Tomko (2-10, 5.67 ERA), while Rollins is batting .538 (7-for-13) lifetime against Tomko.

Tomko hasn’t faced the Phillies since April 7 of last season, when he allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-3 victory at Citizens Bank Park. The right-hander is 5-4 with a 5.21 ERA in 14 games - 13 starts - against Philadelphia.

Tomko seeks his first win since defeating San Francisco on July 15. He’s 0-3 with a 5.14 ERA in his last five starts, and gave up five runs and six hits in five innings of a 7-4 loss to Houston on Tuesday.

The Phillies will counter with Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 3.94), who once again seeks his first win this month. The right-hander has a 3.66 ERA in August, but has received only five runs of support in three starts and gone 0-2. He gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.

Kendrick looks to get back on track at Citizens Bank Park, where he’s 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in seven games this season.

In his only career start against the Dodgers, Kendrick gave up a career-high five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 defeat July 18.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Tomko Cin vs. K. Kendrick Phi
4-12 Record 10-4
5.55 ERA 3.87
105 K 49
48 BB 25
1.50 WHIP 1.27


Tuesday, Aug 21