The right-hander is still looking for his first win with his new team as he makes his home debut Wednesday night for the Phillies, who hope to bounce back from a blowout loss in their series opener with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tuesday’s game was the first meeting between the clubs since October, when Philadelphia eliminated the Dodgers in five games in the NL championship series for the second straight year.
Both teams have work to do if they want to get back to the postseason, with the Phillies (62-50) trailing Atlanta by 2 1/2 games in the NL East and Los Angeles (59-54) seven games behind San Diego in the West.
Philadelphia acquired Oswalt (6-13, 3.50 ERA) from Houston before the trade deadline in hopes of bolstering its roster, which remains without injured sluggers Chase Utley(notes) and Ryan Howard(notes).
After struggling in an 8-1 loss at Washington in his debut July 30, Oswalt limited Florida to two runs and three hits in six innings of the Phillies’ 5-4, 10-inning win on Thursday.
“Getting to know the guys and being around five days now has been a lot better than the first day, when I didn’t what to expect,” Oswalt said.
Oswalt may be excited to make his first home start considering he’s 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts in Philadelphia since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
He’s 6-3 with a 3.47 ERA in his career against the Dodgers, including a complete game the last time he faced them in an 8-1 Astros win July 17, 2009.
Los Angeles lost all five of its playoff games at Philadelphia over the last two seasons, but won 15-9 on Tuesday night - the Dodgers’ third consecutive victory overall as they try to recover from a rocky start to the second half.
They haven’t won four straight since June 6-9 against Atlanta and St. Louis.
Joe Torre’s club averaged 2.5 runs in its first 23 games after the All-Star break, going 7-15 overall and 1-9 on the road in that stretch. But the Dodgers have scored 23 runs in their last two games, and Tuesday’s victory was a promising start to a seven-game trip.
“We hope to give the pitching staff a little confidence and let them know their offense is clicking,” Ethier said. “At the same time, it gives us a little confidence, too.”
Chad Billingsley(notes) (9-6, 3.82) would love another avalanche of run support after the Dodgers lost his last outing 5-0 to San Diego on Thursday. The right-hander still has a 0.98 ERA in his last four starts, but his streak of 25 straight scoreless innings was snapped against the Padres.
In three postseason outings against the Phillies, Billingsley has gone 0-2 with a 12.96 ERA, failing to complete four innings each time. But he has been much better against Philadelphia in the regular season, going 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts.
Philadelphia has still won 13 of 15 at home, scoring at least six runs eight times in that stretch.