The Dodgers would love to see history repeat itself.
Maddux, acquired earlier this week, makes the first start of his second stint in a Dodgers uniform on Friday when his new team opens a crucial 10-game road trip with the first of four against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Los Angeles (65-62) boosted its stagnant offense last month by acquiring outfielder Manny Ramirez and third baseman Casey Blake, and with a pitching staff that had an NL-best 3.64 ERA, it seemed the Dodgers would stand pat.
They did at the trade deadline in July, but on Tuesday, after Maddux (6-9, 3.99 ERA) had cleared waivers, Los Angeles re-acquired the four-time Cy Young Award winner from San Diego. Maddux was with the Dodgers for 12 starts down the stretch in 2006, when he went 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA, helping Los Angeles tie San Diego for the NL West title.
He signed with the Padres that offseason, and went 20-20 with a 4.07 ERA in 60 starts for San Diego, often falling victim to a lack of run support.
“It’s very rare that you get the opportunity to add a pitcher like Greg even one time, let alone twice,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the team’s official Web site. “He’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time and we’ve already seen what he can add to a team, both on the field and in the clubhouse.”
Maddux’s impact was already evident before he pitched an inning. Starter Derek Lowe became close friends with Maddux when the two played together in 2006, and Lowe went 8-1 to close that year. Lowe took the mound in the finale of the Dodgers’ series with Colorado on Thursday, and allowed a run over 6 1-3 innings in a 3-1 victory.
He credited Maddux with helping him make some adjustments during the course of the game.
“He studies hitters and he told me how he pitches to them,” Lowe said. “He gave me a couple tips during the game based on what he saw guys doing. Both times it worked, believe it or not.”
Facing Maddux should be familiar to the Phillies (68-59). They were, after all, the last team he faced while with the Padres, and he was on top of his game. Maddux allowed a run and five hits over seven innings last Friday in San Diego, but a solo homer from Pat Burrell cost him in a 1-0 loss.
Burrell is hitting .340 (16-for-47) with three homers lifetime against Maddux.
Philadelphia scored six runs in that series in San Diego, and that was after it was swept in four games in Los Angeles. The Phillies have played 19 games in August and have scored 61 runs, tied for the third-fewest in baseball.
They struggled again on Thursday, falling 4-3 to Washington to become the first team in 13 games to lose to the Nationals. Philadelphia, which fell 2 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for the NL East lead, has scored three runs or fewer 52 times, going 10-42.
“I’m very concerned about our hitting,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Every guy in that room knows we can hit better.”
Kyle Kendrick (10-7, 5.01) will take the mound for the Phillies hoping to rebound from a pair of rough starts. He was hammered by the Dodgers on Aug. 11, giving up seven runs in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss, then gave up six runs to the Padres in 3 2-3 innings Saturday in an 8-3 defeat.
Los Angeles has won six straight games against Philadelphia.