Roy Halladay has regained his dominant form after having some initial difficulties upon returning from the disabled list.
The Philadelphia Phillies ace will try to keep heading in the right direction by winning a third consecutive start and extending the Miami Marlins’ lengthy scoreless streak in Wednesday’s series finale.
Halladay (6-6, 3.80 ERA) spent nearly two months recovering from a strained right lat, and that rust perhaps showed as he went 0-1 with a 5.82 ERA in his first three starts back.
The right-hander, though, has gotten back on track by allowing one run, five hits and one walk over 15 innings in his two games this month. He gave up a solo homer and a single in eight innings of a 3-1 victory over St. Louis on Friday, fanning eight and walking none.
“I feel more in sync now than I did early on,” Halladay said. “I had a hard time, I just didn’t feel together. I didn’t feel like everything was kind of clicking. More so the last two starts, I’ve felt like that’s been better.”
Halladay appears to have a good chance at another successful start Wednesday, considering he’s 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA over his last 10 games against the Marlins. This will be his first start at the new Marlins Park, but he limited Miami to one run and five hits over seven innings during a 7-1 home victory April 11.
Halladay will match up with the struggling Mark Buehrle (9-11, 3.80). The left-hander is 0-3 with a 6.84 ERA over his last five starts after giving up four runs in six innings of Friday’s 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Buehrle, still trying to record double-digit wins for the 12th consecutive season, is 1-2 with a 4.42 ERA in three starts against Philadelphia this season but had a strong performance in the only one at home June 30. He gave up two runs over seven innings and struck out seven in that 3-2 victory.
The Marlins (52-65) will need to give him at least a little support to avoid being swept.
Philadelphia (54-62) recorded a 1-0 win Tuesday with Jimmy Rollins hitting a leadoff homer in his team-record 1,731st game at shortstop. The Phillies, who won Monday’s series opener 4-0, have not allowed a run in a season-high 21 consecutive innings.
The Marlins, meanwhile, have tied a dubious franchise mark by going 27 innings since their last run. They also endured 27 straight scoreless frames Sept. 11-15, 1993, during their inaugural season.
“Our offense still couldn’t get anything going,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the team’s official website. “I thought after the last couple guys pitching that today would be a little easier. I was wrong. … A lot of swinging and missing. We really, offensively, we have to step it up.”
The Marlins might get some help Wednesday from Jose Reyes, who is 12 for 32 (.375) all-time against Halladay.
The Phillies’ Hector Luna hasn’t played since being called up from the minors Monday, but he’s 6 for 8 in his career against Buehrle.