The Philadelphia Phillies’ trip to Southern California has been no vacation.
The Phillies look to avoid suffering six losses on their seven-game road trip as they wrap up their three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Philadelphia (65-58) came to the West Coast on Monday with a two-game lead over the New York Mets in the NL East, but after getting swept in four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers and splitting its first two games with the Padres (48-75), the Phillies have dropped two games back of the first-place Mets.
Philadelphia lost to San Diego 8-3 on Saturday, and is in danger of winning just one game on a seven-game road trip for the first time since May 13-19, 2002.
On Saturday, the Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning against San Diego’s Chad Reineke, who was making his major league debut, but managed only four hits the rest of the game.
“We scored three runs early and couldn’t polish him off,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Phillies’ offense has not been getting the job done on the trip, as it’s scored 20 runs while batting .190 through the first six games. Slugger Ryan Howard had a RBI groundout Saturday and has six RBIs through the first six games, but is batting just .095 (2-for-21) with a homer and double.
The Padres, meanwhile, have not been having much success at Petco Park lately. They are a major league-worst 6-19 at home since June 21, and have not won a series at Petco since taking two of three from the Dodgers June 10-12. San Diego has also lost 13 of its last 17 home games to the Phillies.
Philadelphia should be feeling good about sending Cole Hamels (9-8, 3.32 ERA) to the mound Sunday, but the emerging ace is in the midst of the longest winless drought of his career.
Hamels was tied for sixth in the NL in wins following his victory over Atlanta on July 3, but he has not won since and is now tied for 25th. He has pitched well during his winless drought, posting a 3.60 ERA in those games, but his 2.60 run support average in his seven starts since July 8 is the fourth-worst in the majors in that span.
On Tuesday at Los Angeles, the left-hander gave up two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings and left with a 3-2 lead, but the Phillies eventually lost 4-3.
“It all evens out,” Pat Burrell told the team’s official Web site. “If he’s pitching the way he is, we’re going to score runs. It’s unfortunate because he’s had tough luck.”
In his only start against San Diego this season on April 29, Hamels allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 7-4 victory. He is 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA in four career start versus the Padres, and 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two outings at Petco.
San Diego counters with Cha Seung Baek (4-6, 5.12), who makes his first career start versus Philadelphia.
Baek gave up five runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings of a 5-2 loss to Milwaukee on Tuesday, as his struggles at Petco continue.
The right-hander has alternated wins and losses in his last four starts, allowing six runs in 11 2-3 innings in his two wins—both on the road—and 10 runs in 10 1-3 innings in his two losses—both at home. Baek is 0-6 with a 7.04 ERA in seven starts and eight overall games at Petco this season.