Philadelphia (53-44) at Miami (50-46)

Fair Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 76° F
  • Game info: 3:55 pm EDT Sat Jul 19, 2008
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The best road record in the NL has helped the Philadelphia Phillies claim first place in the NL East. Kyle Kendrick has found life away from home to be pretty comfortable as well.

Kendrick, who has won his last three starts outside of Philadelphia, will look to pitch the Phillies to their fifth straight road win on Saturday when they continue their series against the Florida Marlins.

Only two teams in the majors besides Philadelphia (53-44) have a winning record away from home. The Phillies improved to an NL-best 26-21 away from Citizens Bank Park on Friday, using strong pitching to beat the Marlins (50-46) 4-2 in their first game after the All-Star break.

Jamie Moyer allowed two runs in six innings to improve to 10-0 in 10 career starts versus Florida, and the Phillies moved one game ahead of the red-hot New York Mets and 2 1/2 up on Florida atop the East.

“Florida has a very aggressive team - they hit a lot of home runs,” said Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who picked up his 21st save. “(Jamie’s) such a master of what he’s doing, he can see what they’re swinging at and move it a couple of inches.”

As they try for their first five-game road winning streak of the season, the Phillies will turn to a pitcher who hasn’t lost a road game since the second week of April.

Kendrick (8-3, 4.47 ERA) has won three straight road starts, while allowing only four earned runs in 21.0 innings. In eight starts away from home since an April 9 loss at New York, the 23-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 4.01 ERA.

“He’s been absolutely great for us,” manager Charlie Manuel told the Phillies’ official Web site after Kendrick won at Atlanta earlier this month. “I don’t know what we would have done last year or this year without him.”

Philadelphia has won five of six overall, with much of that success due to Ryan Howard. The slugging first baseman was hitting under .200 in late May, but he’s up to .234 now and his 85 RBIs are the most in the NL.

He also leads the majors with 29 homers, and has gone deep five times in his last six games, including a solo shot on Friday.

Howard has had great success against Florida starter Scott Olsen, going 10-for-21 (.476) with two homers and nine RBIs.

Olsen (5-4, 3.77) turned in one of his best starts of the season in his last outing, however, bouncing back from one of the worst games of his career.

Olsen gave up nine runs - eight earned - over five innings in an 18-17 loss to Colorado on July 4, but limited San Diego to one run over eight innings on July 9, picking up his first victory since May 6 as the Marlins won 5-2.

“My ball was down in the zone,” said Olsen. “I was throwing my off-speed stuff for strikes.”

Olsen was impressive in his only start against the Phillies this season, allowing two runs - one earned - over seven innings on June 12. The Marlins, however, were limited to three hits in a 3-0 loss.

Florida’s offense is in the top 10 in the majors in runs scored, but one of its key run producers has been slumping. All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla is hitting .171 (6-for-35) with two RBIs in his last 11 games.

He hasn’t fared well against the Phillies, either. Uggla is 2-for-24 (.083) versus Philadelphia in 2008.

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Starting Pitchers

K. Kendrick Col vs. S. Olsen Tex
11-9 Record 8-11
5.49 ERA 4.20
68 K 113
57 BB 69
1.61 WHIP 1.31

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 19