Roy Halladay(notes) looks to help the visiting Phillies ride the momentum of an impressive three-game sweep into Monday’s opener against the Dodgers, who appear ready to officially part ways with Manny Ramirez(notes).
Philadelphia (73-57) limped into San Diego for the start of a seven-game road trip Friday after being swept in four games by Houston at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies didn’t waste any time dwelling on that performance. They finished a three-game sweep of the NL West-leading Padres with an emphatic 5-0 win Sunday, staying 1 1/2 games up in the wild-card race and leaving manager Charlie Manuel struggling to explain the past week.
“I can’t,” Manuel told the Phillies’ official website. “I absolutely can’t. No sense in me trying.”
The two-time reigning NL champs are also two games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
The Dodgers (67-64), on the other hand, won the first four games of their road trip but finished with a pair of losses after falling 10-5 in Colorado on Sunday. They’re 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the wild-card race.
The game featured a pinch-hit appearance from Ramirez, who was ejected after arguing a first-pitch strike in what looks to have been the final act of his tempestuous tenure in Los Angeles. The Dodgers on Monday plan to let the 12-time All-Star go to the Chicago White Sox, who won his rights on a waiver claim Friday.
No players are expected back in exchange for Ramirez, according to the Dodgers’ official website. The club will, however, save the approximately $4.3 million he’s owed the rest of 2010.
Ramirez had been benched the previous four games in favor of Scott Podsednik(notes), who may be one of a few Los Angeles hitters that’s looking forward to facing Halladay (16-9, 2.22 ERA). Podsednik is 5 for 12 (.417) against the NL ERA leader, while Andre Ethier(notes) is 3 for 4 with a homer.
Halladay will try to bounce back from his first loss since July 18. The former Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs over seven innings Wednesday against Houston, falling 3-2.
The right-hander hasn’t faced the Dodgers since 2007, but he’ll hope to pick up where he left off. Halladay is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts against Los Angeles.
Hiroki Kuroda(notes) (9-11, 3.56), meanwhile, has had recent success versus Philadelphia. The Japanese righty went 1-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts against the Phillies from 2008-09, lasting at least six innings while allowing two hits or fewer each time.
He’s posted a 2.89 ERA in his past four starts overall, though Wednesday’s outing at Milwaukee was his first win in that span. Kuroda gave up four runs over seven innings in a 5-4 victory.
“There’s been many games where I’ve pitched really well, but I couldn’t get the win,” Kuroda told the Dodgers’ official website. “It’s a bit frustrating at times, but you’ve got to keep pitching tough and the results will come.”