The Phillies go for their eighth win in 10 games on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park as they continue their three-game series against the Padres, who have dropped 11 of 13.
Philadelphia (15-12) is averaging 5.67 runs and batting .275 during its 7-2 stretch, which has guaranteed the club its first winning April since 2003.
The Phillies, who led the NL with 5.51 runs per game while winning their first division title in 14 years in 2007, were in the middle of the road in scoring (4.44) and batting average (.251) during their mediocre 8-10 start.
The slumping Padres (10-17) would take those numbers in a heartbeat. They’re 29th in the majors in scoring (3.26) and last in batting average (.225), and have particularly struggled lately, hitting .177 during a 2-11 stretch since April 16.
Padres outfielder Scott Hairston wasn’t helping, going 2-for-37 before breaking out of that slump with two homers on Tuesday. He had three of San Diego’s seven hits in the 7-4 loss to Philadelphia.
“It was nice to get at-bats like that and good to be out there and feel like you’re making a difference,” Hairston told the Padres’ official Web site. “As a team, we’re going through our ups and downs. I think everything will change. The season is too long to get down.”
That’s a lesson already learned by the Phillies, who have made their surge despite being without reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins, out of the starting lineup since April 8. Though Rollins is expected to miss at least another week, Philadelphia welcomed back outfielder Shane Victorino on Tuesday after a two-week stint on the disabled list with a strained left calf.
“We got Shane back and, hopefully, Jimmy will be back soon,” outfielder Jayson Werth told the Phillies’ official Web site. “Like last year, we have a team which has been through it. We’re a confident team and we’re going to keep pushing through like we did last season.”
Philadelphia will try to continue its offensive surge against San Diego’s Chris Young (1-2, 3.77 ERA).
The 6-foot-10 right-hander was 9-3 with a 1.82 ERA through 20 starts last season before going on the disabled list in July with a strained left oblique. Since he was activated, he’s just 1-7 with a 5.20 ERA in 15 starts.
The Padres have dropped Young’s last four outings, and he’s 0-2 with a 4.30 ERA in those appearances. However, he delivered his best start of the year on Thursday, holding San Francisco to one run and two hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of a 1-0 loss.
“That was his best command and velocity,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
Young is 1-1 with a 1.46 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies. He has struck out 12 and allowed only seven hits in 12 1-3 innings in those games.
He’ll match up against Philadelphia left-hander Jamie Moyer (1-1, 4.05), who’s also coming off one of his best starts of the season. The 45-year-old allowed only one run in six innings of Philadelphia’s 3-1 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday.
Moyer is 7-6 with a 4.41 ERA in 16 career starts against the Padres.