Wandy Rodriguez has been practically untouchable. Roy Halladay was the opposite early on, but seems to have found his groove again.
The two hurlers go head-to-head Wednesday in the third test of a four-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies from Citizens Bank Park.
Rodriguez has made three starts so far this season, going 2-0 with a microscopic 0.56 earned run average over 16 innings. He has scattered five hits in that time and his strikeouts-to-walks ratio is 11-to-1. Rodriguez tossed seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 win versus Atlanta on Friday and the Pirates have outscored the opposition, 14-3, when he starts.
The Dominican left-hander is 2-2 with a 5.11 ERA in six career games (4 starts) against Philadelphia. Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA in four career games, two of which have been starts, at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay, meanwhile, started 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA in losses to Atlanta and New York, but has since bounced back with consecutive strong starts against Miami and St. Louis. Halladay allowed five and seven runs, respectively, in losses to the Braves and Mets, leaving many to wonder if he's on the decline.
The right-hander and two-time Cy Young Award winner roared back with eight innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win at Miami on April 14, then held the Cardinals to a pair of runs through seven innings in last Friday's 8-2 win.
Halladay, who is 2-2 with a 6.04 earned run average, has made six career starts against Pittsburgh, posting a 4-1 record with a sparkling 0.98 ERA.
Cole Hamels did his best to pitch the Phillies to a win over the Pirates on Tuesday, but was dealt the loss after giving up two runs and seven hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked just one, and the offense once again failed to produce when the lefty takes the mound.
The Phillies have plated three runs or less in 13 of their 21 games.
"I think they're trying, maybe a little bit too hard," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of the offense.
Michael Young had one of Philadelphia's four hits and is riding a 14-game hitting streak. The Phillies had won two straight and three of four games, and will start a five-game road trip later this week against the New York Mets.
Gaby Sanchez had two hits, including a home run, and Brandon Inge drove in the other run for the Pirates, who have won eight of 11 games and improved to 1-1 on a 10-game road trip. The Pirates are also 10-0 when leading after seven innings this season.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke tossed six scoreless innings for the win.
"He made pitches; he flat-out made pitches," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke.
Jason Grilli struck out two in the ninth for his eighth save.
Pittsburgh won four of seven matchups with the Phillies a season ago.