Veteran Bronson Arroyo takes the mound with a chance to stop the bleeding for the Cincinnati Reds, who host the Philadelphia Phillies to open a three-game series on Monday night at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds, winners of the National League's Central Division title in two of the last three seasons, started the year with five wins in seven games but have since dropped five in a row - all on the road - to fall to the middle of the pack in the five-team division.
Arroyo is just 2-7 in 11 career meetings with the Phillies with a 6.55 earned run average in 55 innings - but won the lone matchup in 2012 after allowing three hits and two runs in eight innings in Philadelphia.
He's split a pair of starts thus far in 2013, defeating the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-4, on April 4, then dropping a 5-1 verdict in St. Louis five days later on April 9.
In 12 overall innings, he's surrendered 13 hits and seven runs.
Arroyo is 44-39 in 116 career starts in Cincinnati.
He'll be opposed by Phillies lefty Cliff Lee, who appears to be regaining some of the magic that helped him win 17 games as recently as 2011.
The 34-year-old Arkansas native tumbled to just 6-9 in 30 starts in a disappointing 2012, but has allowed just two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings over a pair of starts this spring while beating Atlanta and the New York Mets.
He's given up 10 hits and struck out 14 batters in that April stretch, while posting a stingy 1.08 earned run average and allowing a batting average of just .167 to opponents.
Lee is 6-2 in 11 lifetime starts against the Reds with a 3.91 ERA in 71 1/3 innings. He got a no-decision in one game against Cincinnati in 2012 and is 3-2 in career starts at Great American Ball Park.
On Sunday in Miami, pinch-hitter Laynce Nix hit a solo homer in the ninth inning and Roy Halladay pitched eight solid frames as the Phillies beat the Marlins, 2-1, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Halladay (1-2), who has never dropped three straight starts to open a season, gave up one run on five hits to nail down career win No. 200. The right-hander saw his ERA drop from 14.73 to 7.63.
"I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself," Halladay said. "My plan the whole week was to worry about the game and not worry about what was going on internally."
Michael Young had an RBI for the Phillies, who improved to 6-6 on the young season.
In Pittsburgh, Starling Marte's eighth-inning home run helped cap the Pirates' comeback and their first home three-game sweep of the Reds since 2010 with a 10-7 victory at PNC Park.
Jonathan Broxton (0-1) lasted just two-thirds of an inning in relief for the Reds and allowed six earned runs on the way to his first loss of the season.
"Never seen big Broxton that wild," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "And then every homer was proceeded with a walk."
Brandon Phillips had three RBI for Cincinnati, while Joey Votto hit his first home run since June of 2012 in the loss.
The Phillies won four of seven games between the teams in 2012 and have won the season series each year since 2004, when it was tied at three games apiece. The Reds last won in 2003 by taking five of nine games.