Given his history against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the struggles of his counterpart on the mound Tuesday, he appears unlikely to lose yet.
Oswalt (3-0, 1.88 ERA) has pitched six innings in each of his four starts. He was efficient with 90 pitches or fewer in the first three before he labored to throw 106 on Thursday, allowing one hit over six innings of a 3-0 victory at San Diego.
“They made him earn everything he got,” manager Charlie Manuel told the Phillies’ official website. “They ran his pitch count up.”
Oswalt’s 1.91 ERA in 12 starts against the Diamondbacks is his lowest against any NL team. He’s 9-2 in those games, although he’s 2-1 with a more pedestrian 4.15 ERA in four outings at Chase Field.
Chris Young has enjoyed the most success against Oswalt among Diamondbacks hitters, going 6 for 15. Young also came through against Lee with a two-run homer in the third inning Monday to break out of a 1-for-22 slump and help Arizona end a four-game slide.
Philadelphia (15-7) had a season-high five-game win streak snapped. The Phillies’ 39 runs since April 10 are the fewest in baseball. Raul Ibanez(notes) is 0 for 18 in his last six games, Shane Victorino(notes) is 2 for 19 on the current road trip and slugger Ryan Howard(notes) is homerless in his last 12 contests.
“We’ve just got to keep going to work on it,” Manuel said. “Either we’re going to do it or we’re not. We’re going to keep working. We’ve got to fight every day.”
The Phillies have gone seven straight games without scoring in the first inning, but that could change against Hudson (0-4, 5.92). He has given up nine runs in the opening frame over his last three outings, including four in Thursday’s 7-4 loss at Cincinnati.
“I can’t keep putting my team in a deficit and expect them to fight their way out of it,” said Hudson, who surrendered seven runs over 5 1-3 innings. “I’ve got to fight through this. I’m extremely frustrated. That’s three straight games - four straight, really - where I’ve struggled in the first inning. That’s unacceptable.”
Polanco, though, continues to be the most consistent threat for the Phillies, raising his team-best average to .372 with two hits Monday.