While they own a lackluster record, the Philadelphia Phillies’ play at home lately has provided some optimism.
Cliff Lee’s lengthy win streak has also been a bright spot.
The left-hander will try to earn a seventh consecutive win while helping the Phillies record their sixth in a row at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night against Washington Nationals.
Philadelphia hasn’t been more than one game above .500 this season but would top that if it could sweep a six-game homestand that began Monday. Domonic Brown helped kick off that stay with a game-ending single in 5-4 win over Washington after Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save in 14 chances this season.
Ryan Howard also went 3 for 3 and hit his 300th home run as a first baseman.
“(Papelbon’s) been great for us,” Brown said. “I told him we’re going to fight for him, and we ended up coming up with the win.”
Lee (8-2, 2.55 ERA) will try to help the Phillies (34-37) move a step closer to matching its longest win streak at Citizens Bank in 2012, an eight-game run Aug. 30-Sept. 21.
Lee is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last eight starts, and gave up two runs and three hits over seven innings in his latest outing Thursday, a 3-2 victory in Minnesota.
“I’m going to continue to do what I can to give this team a chance to win when I pitch, and that’s really the only thing I can control,” he told the team’s website.
He was 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against the Nationals in 2012.
Washington (34-35) will seek to avoid its first three-game losing streak since dropping a season high-tying four in a row May 18-21.
Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02) looks to provide another solid outing. The left-hander, who returned from the disabled list Thursday, has given up three runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts this season and each of his last four.
In his first game back from a strained back muscle, Detwiler surrendered three runs over five innings in Colorado but did not get a decision in a 5-4 win.
“There’s always just a little hesitation there, but I was just trying to go out there and attack it (the strike zone) as much as I could,” Detwiler told the team’s website. “We got through the first one, now hopefully we can relax and I can get back into the form I was in before.”
Detwiler’s teammates have supported him with two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts. That’s a big reason why he has only one win over that stretch, a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on May 10.
Detwiler is 2-4 with a 4.24 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies but has had vastly different performances in his team’s wins and losses versus its NL East rivals. He is 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in three victories and 0-4 with a 7.84 ERA in five defeats.
The Nationals are hoping to get Denard Span back from a sore right foot Tuesday. He’s batting .359 (14 for 39) in nine games against Philadelphia and is 7 for 20 (.350) all-time versus Lee. However, he hasn’t faced the left-hander since the 2010 season, when both players were in the AL.
Span’s former Minnesota teammate, Ben Revere is batting .432 (16 for 37) in an eight-game hit streak for Philadelphia.
The Phillies activated catcher Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list after he had been sidelined with a hamstring injury since May 20.