(SportsNetwork.com) - Wade Miley eyes his fourth straight win on Friday when the Arizona Diamondbacks open a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Miley has been terrific of late for the Diamondbacks, pitching to a 1.74 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 20 2/3 innings in winning his last three starts. His most recent win came on Saturday versus the Chicago Cubs, as he allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings to even his record at 6-6 to go along with a 4.16 ERA.
"He's just throwing the ball really well. It's coming out of his hand good," manager Kirk Gibson said. "The other thing, I think, in his head, he's managing things a little better, as well. Really efficient with what's going on out there."
Miley is 1-0 in two starts versus the Phillies with a 2.25 ERA.
As good as Miley has been, Philadelphia's Kyle Kendrick has been just as bad, winning just one time in his past six starts. Overall, he's 4-10 with a 4.87 ERA and has surrendered 18 runs in 16 2/3 innings over his past three starts, including two that resulted in losses.
Kendrick, who has pitched to a 10.80 ERA in the first inning, has pitched to a 5.30 ERA over the last calendar year, the worst among any starter who has made 30 starts in that span.
"It's just been a tough year for me," said Kendrick, who is 0-2 with a 5.45 ERA in eight games (7 starts) versus Arizona. "I don't know why. I just have to keep pitching."
Philadelphia enters this series on a rare winning note, as it avoided a four- game sweep at the hands of the San Francisco Giants on Thursday by pulling out a 2-1 win.
It was just the second win in nine tries for the Phillies, who for the second day benched struggling first baseman Ryan Howard. The former NL MVP may be among the league leaders with 60 RBI, but is hitting just .156 in the month of July.
"He understands the scuffling against left-handed pitching, but there are also some left-handed pitching he handles," Sandberg said. "I'll take a look at that ... I told him to be ready to go, continue to work at his game and be ready."
Arizona, meanwhile, has won four of its last six, but dropped two of three to Detroit this past week.
Philadelphia took two of three from the D-backs earlier in the year.