While their teams own lackluster records, the Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee and the San Diego Padres' Eric Stults have both shined lately.
Lee will pursue an eighth consecutive win when the Phillies visit San Diego on Monday night while Stults goes for his third straight victory.
Philadelphia (36-40) has dropped 10 of 15 since moving above .500 for the only time this season June 6, and a controversial call didn't help in an 8-0 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday. Umpires ruled that Ben Revere committed a three-run error in the fifth inning when he fumbled the ball from his glove to his hand and that opened the door for the Mets to score three runs in the frame.
"We were 3-3 on the homestand, and it feels to me kind of like the way we play," manager Charlie Manuel told the team's website. "If you've watched us all year long, you've seen the inconsistent part of it."
Lee, though, has been a steady performer for his club with a 1.97 ERA and 64 strikeouts to 10 walks during his win streak, which has spanned nine starts. He gave up two solo homers and struck out nine in a 4-2 win over Washington on Tuesday.
While his name has been tossed around in preliminary trade rumors ahead of the July 31 deadline, Lee said he's focused on helping the Phillies break out of their funk. After a 3-2 win in Minnesota on June 13, he was noncommittal about remaining in Philadelphia.
"I want to win. I signed here to win. I think that was misconstrued into thinking I want to play somewhere else, and that's not the case," he told the team's website.
While he's still with the Phillies, Lee will try to record his first eight-game win streak since July 16-Aug. 24, 2009, and earn his sixth in a row on the road.
That eight-game run was the third-longest in his career, and he'll try to match that against a San Diego team that's dropped four of six since winning a season-high seven in a row.
The Padres (38-38) missed their chance to win a four-game series over the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. They produced just two runs in back-to-back losses to their NL West rivals, including a 3-1 defeat Sunday.
Closer Huston Street gave up back-to-back homers in the ninth inning of that loss.
"(Street) has impeccable control. This year, at times, it's been spotty. We have to get him to the point where he's consistently hitting his spots and making his pitches," manager Bud Black said.
Black's club will try to get back on track behind another strong performance from Stults (6-5, 3.25), who has allowed two runs or fewer and pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five outings. He's also 3-0 in his past four home starts, allowing one run in each.
The left-hander, though, didn't get enough run support or help from the Padres' bullpen to extend his win streak Wednesday in San Francisco. San Diego couldn't hold on to a one-run lead in a 4-2 defeat.
Stults will make his first start against Philadelphia while Lee will make his first versus the Padres since July 25, 2011. He's 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA in five career matchups.
The Phillies had won 13 straight in San Diego before dropping their final two games there in 2012 from April 21-22.