The Los Angeles Dodgers would appear to catch a much-needed break by avoiding a matchup with Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay on Monday night.
The Dodgers, though, could use a better outing from their Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw, as they try to earn their second win in a week during the series opener against the injury-plagued Phillies.
Los Angeles (33-21) matched a season low with three hits en route its sixth loss in seven games Sunday in Colorado. A.J. Ellis drove in the team's only runs in a 3-2 defeat on his sixth homer of the season.
"I don't think there's a person here pushing a panic button or anything like that. You know that it's a grind," Ellis said. "Someone said to me we're officially through the first third of the season. We've got two-thirds to go, and I think our first third was pretty good."
The chances of breaking out of the current funk don't appear promising for Los Angeles, which is 2-9 in its last 11 against Philadelphia (28-27). The Dodgers, though, might have a chance to beat the Phillies on Monday with Halladay out.
The two-time Cy Young winner is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks because of a strained right shoulder. He joins Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jim Thome and Jose Contreras on the team's lengthy injury list.
To replace Halladay in the rotation, the Phillies are removing Vance Worley (3-2, 3.07 ERA) from the disabled list. The right-hander hasn't pitched since May 11 because of inflammation in his throwing elbow.
While Halladay is 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five lifetime starts against Los Angeles, Worley gave up six runs over four innings in his only matchup Aug. 10 at Dodger Stadium. He avoided a loss when the Phillies rallied for a 9-8 victory.
Philadelphia has won four of five matchups at Citizens Bank Park and will try to continue that success while adding to Kershaw's woes.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA in his last two starts and matched a season high by giving up five runs over 5 2-3 innings during a 6-3 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
"I threw a lot of pitches and couldn't put anybody away," Kershaw told the team's website. "It was just a rough night."
It's usually been rough for Kershaw (4-3, 2.42) against the Phillies as he's 0-5 with a 5.73 ERA in six career regular-season starts and one in the playoffs.
The left-hander, though, has given up two runs in each of his last two outings against Philadelphia. He got zero run support in a 5-1 home loss Sept. 1 and the Dodgers' bullpen incredibly blew a seven-run lead Aug. 12 at Citizens Bank.
Philadelphia enters this series after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in nearly two weeks. After producing 53 runs over a 7-2 stretch, the Phillies scored a combined five during consecutive home defeats to Miami.
They were held to one run for the first time since the middle of their four-game skid from May 19-22 during a 5-1 defeat Sunday, and Juan Pierre had three of his team's six hits.
"When we get down 4, 5, 6 runs, yeah, it is hard for us to come back,'' said manager Charlie Manuel, whose team is 0-21 when trailing after seven innings. "We used to come back much easier because we could hit the ball out of the yard more consistently."