The Philadelphia Phillies will turn to their most consistent starter on Monday night in the opener of a 10-game road trip as Cliff Lee takes the hill for the first of three straight meetings with the San Diego Padres.
Lee has not lost since May 1, going 7-0 with a 1.97 earned run average in nine outings since. The left-hander won his second straight start on Tuesday, logging eight inning in a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals, charged with a pair of runs on five hits while striking out nine without a walk.
Lee improved to 9-2 on the season with a 2.53 ERA in 15 starts, striking out 98 batters to just 17 walks over 110 1/3 innings.
"I definitely wanted to throw strikes and work ahead in the count," Lee said following the win over the Nationals. "That's what I try to do every game. Tonight I was able to do that. For the most part it was locating the fastball and staying out of hitter-friendly counts."
The 34-year-old will try to improve on his career numbers versus the Padres, who he is just 1-2 against in five starts with a 4.99 ERA.
Lee's win over the Nationals was part of a 3-3 homestand that ended with a disappointing 8-0 setback to the New York Mets on Sunday.
John Lannan struggled over five-plus innings, yielding six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and three walks.
"I wasn't making pitches," Lannan said. "I struggled with what I wanted to do today."
The Phillies have lost three of their last four and begin their road trip against red-hot Padres hurler Eric Stults, who has pitched to a 1.69 ERA over his last five starts.
Stults logged at least seven innings in the first four games of that span before exiting after 6 1/3 frames of a no-decision at San Francisco on Wednesday. Looking for a third straight winning start, the left-hander allowed two runs and seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Stults sits 6-5 with a 3.25 ERA in 15 starts this season and will face the Phillies for only the second time in his career. The first meeting came as a reliever with the Los Angeles Dodgers back in 2007 and the 33-year-old gave up four runs over three innings. That included a pair of homers to Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.
The Padres have lost four of six following a seven-game winning streak and split a four-game set over the weekend against the Dodgers. Huston Street was tagged for a pair of homers in the ninth inning to suffer the loss in Sunday's 3-1 setback.
Andrew Cashner was excellent in a no-decision, holding the Dodgers to a run over eight innings.
"We're seeing him mix pitches, seeing him get out of big jams when he needs to. He's growing as a pitcher," said Padres manager Bud Black.
Carlos Quentin tied the game in the bottom half of the seventh winning with a home run.
Though they won just four of the seven meetings last year, the Phillies are 14-4 in their past 18 versus the Padres and have lost just twice in San Diego over that time.