With home-field advantage locked up throughout the playoffs, manager Charlie Manuel isn’t too concerned about the Philadelphia Phillies’ current losing streak.
The Phillies try to avoid losing five straight for the first time all season as they continue a four-game set with the visiting Nationals on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia (98-56), which clinched its fifth straight NL East title with a 9-2 victory over St. Louis on Saturday, has since dropped four in a row - including both legs of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
After falling 4-3 in 10 innings in the afternoon, the Phillies recorded three hits in a 3-0 defeat in the second game.
“I’m not worried, but I’d like to see us play better,” Manuel said. “We’re not going through the motions, but I feel we’re not focused. It’s normal in some respect, but you never want to see us play in a manner where we have bad at-bats and not play well.”
The Phillies haven’t dropped five straight since May 22-27, 2010.
Philadelphia, which secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason with Milwaukee’s 5-2 loss at Chicago on Monday, has scored six runs during its skid. The Phillies, however, could be in line for a breakout performance with Lannan (9-13, 3.68 ERA) in town.
The left-hander is 1-12 with a 5.81 ERA over 16 starts against the Phillies, going 0-5 with a 7.40 ERA in six outings at Citizens Bank Park.
Lannan doesn’t enter this matchup with much momentum after compiling a 7.56 ERA over his last two starts. He is 1-6 with a 4.15 ERA in his last seven outings.
Lannan won’t have to worry about pitching to Ryan Howard(notes) (bursitis), who isn’t expected to return to the lineup until Thursday at the earliest. He will, though, likely be facing Raul Ibanez(notes) and Chase Utley(notes), who are 12 for 25 (.480) and 12 for 32 (.375), respectively, against him - each going deep twice.
Philadelphia gives the ball to Vance Worley(notes) (11-2, 2.85), who could be taking his final turn in the rotation. The Phillies are likely to move the 23-year-old right-hander to the bullpen following this start in order to give him some time to adjust to his new role come October.
The decision to make Worley a reliever surely isn’t based on performance as he continues to have a stellar season. He leads all rookies with at least 100 innings in ERA and ranks fourth in wins.
Worley will try to stay undefeated at home, where he’s gone 6-0 while compiling a 2.01 ERA in 11 starts. He yielded one run and six hits in six innings of Friday’s 4-2, 11-inning loss to the Cardinals.
In his only career start versus the Nationals, Worley allowed one run and struck out seven in six innings of a 7-4 victory May 4.
Worley, though, could be in for a challenge against a Washington team which is batting .300 with runners in scoring position during an 8-2 run. With Tuesday’s sweep, the Nationals (74-79) have taken seven of nine from the Phillies after dropping six of the first seven meetings.
“I think to compete against the best team in baseball and win two games shows the maturation process is working,” manager Davey Johnson said.
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