The Philadelphia Phillies have posted back-to-back complete games for the first time in 12 seasons.
Oswalt looks to stay undefeated at Citizens Bank Park and win his career-high 10th consecutive decision Friday night when the Phillies open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins, who have lost six straight and nine of 10 in this NL East matchup.
After Roy Halladay(notes) went nine innings in Wednesday’s 3-2 win at Washington, Cliff Lee(notes) threw a three-hitter Thursday in a 4-0 victory. The last time Philadelphia (9-3) had back-to-back complete games was May 11-12, 1999, at St. Louis, by Paul Byrd(notes) and Curt Schilling.
“You don’t see that too many times nowadays, so we’re very happy with our pitching,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
That includes Oswalt (2-0, 2.25 ERA), who gets the ball to open the Phillies’ six-game homestand. The veteran right-hander, who was 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four road starts at Citizens Bank Park before he was acquired from Houston on July 29, is 7-0 with a 2.05 ERA in 10 home starts - including three in the postseason - since the deal.
He’s also been getting the job done on the road since the trade, going 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA in seven regular-season starts. Oswalt matched a career best Saturday by winning his ninth consecutive decision overall, 10-2 at Atlanta.
He hasn’t lost in the regular season since his Phillies debut July 30 at Washington.
Oswalt has never won his first three starts in a season, but he could get plenty of support in the series opener. The Phillies hit .353 and averaged 7.2 runs during a 5-1 homestand to begin the year.
Vazquez picked up his first victory Saturday in a 7-5 win at Houston, but he was not sharp, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings.
“I got myself in trouble in the second inning trying to be too perfect instead of just trying to be aggressive,” said Vazquez, who allowed three runs in the first two innings after giving up three in the first in his 2011 debut against the New York Mets on April 3. “I started being more aggressive out there and it worked out.”
Unlike Oswalt, Vazquez has pitched poorly at the Phillies’ ballpark, going 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in four starts.
He should be careful pitching to left fielder Raul Ibanez(notes), who is 8 for 25 with four homers off the right-hander. Ibanez is off to a slow start, batting .213 after going 1 for 12 in the Nationals series, but he hit a team-best .367 with seven extra-base hits against Florida last season.
The Marlins, who lost 13 of 18 to the Phillies in 2010, make their first of three visits to Philadelphia this season after defeating the Braves 6-5 on Thursday to win their second consecutive series on this nine-game trip.
The Marlins have never won their first three series away from home.