The Philadelphia Phillies still have a comfortable lead in the NL East after a terrible series. They appear be playing the right opponent as they try to get back on track.
The Phillies will try to end their season-high five-game road slide Tuesday night when they send Pedro Martinez(notes) to the mound as they look to continue their domination of the Washington Nationals.
Philadelphia (77-58) was swept in a four-game series at Houston after losing 4-3 on Monday. The Phillies blew leads in one-run losses in each of the last three games.
“It was a bad series and that’s saying it lightly,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We did everything we could to lose. You name it, every game, we did everything we could to lose.”
Philadelphia leads second-place Florida by six games in the East. The Phillies have fallen three games behind the Cardinals and Dodgers in the race for home-field advantage in the division series.
“I don’t know what it is, if they’re tight or whatever,” Manuel said. “They have no reason to be tight, but I kind of sense that’s what it is.”
The Phillies will be looking forward to moving on in this three-game set. They have won seven straight over Washington (47-90) and lead the season series 10-2.
Numerous Philadelphia hitters have put up gaudy numbers against the Nationals. Second baseman Chase Utley(notes) is hitting .378 with eight RBIs, center fielder Shane Victorino(notes) is batting .347 with seven RBIs and Raul Ibanez(notes) is hitting .440 with six homers and 18 RBIs.
The Phillies, though, have scored 23 runs in losing seven of 11.
That poor production didn’t matter to Martinez (3-0, 3.52 ERA) in his last outing. He gave up one run over a season-high seven innings Thursday to outduel reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum(notes) in a 2-1 victory over San Francisco.
“I flashed back to the good old times,” Martinez said. “I don’t have the power I used to have, but I always said it’s not about power, it’s about hitting your spots.”
The Phillies are 5-0 in the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s starts. Martinez is 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA in eight career starts against the Nationals’ franchise.
Philadelphia has also won its last six games in which it has faced John Lannan(notes) (8-10, 4.09), who will start Tuesday for the Nationals. Lannan is 0-5 with a 5.89 ERA in seven career outings against the Phillies.
Utley is 10 for 19 (.526) with two homers against the left-hander.
Lannan, 5-1 with a 2.62 ERA at home, is 0-1 with a 7.97 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up five runs over five innings last Tuesday in a 7-0 loss to San Diego.
Washington snapped a season-worst eight-game skid by rallying for a 5-4 victory over Florida on Sunday with three runs in the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman(notes) hit a two-run homer to win the game.
The Phillies are 11-4 all-time at Nationals Park, including 5-1 this year.