Erik Bedard will try to pick up his first road victory in four outings this evening when the Pittsburgh Pirates continue a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Bedard is 4-7 with a 4.12 earned run average in 14 starts this season and that includes an excellent 2.31 ERA at home. However, the veteran left-hander is just 2-5 with a 6.27 ERA in seven road outings, losing his past three since his last victory as the guest on May 3.
Bedard was hammered for seven runs over 3 1/3 frames of a loss at Baltimore on June 14, but rebounded with a good home outing versus the Twins on Wednesday. The 33-year-old did not factor into the decision, but yielded just a run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Bedard, who moved to within five strikeouts for 1,000 in his career, pitched a solid game at home against the Phillies back on April 5, but was left with a loss as his club was blanked 1-0. Bedard hurled seven innings of one-run ball and fell to 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA in four career outings versus Philadelphia.
The Phillies' Vance Worley looks for his first victory in five starts tonight, having lost back-to-back outings despite pitching seven innings each time and allowing just a total of three earned runs.
Following a 3-0 loss in Toronto, the right-handed Worley yielded two runs in a 4-1 defeat versus Colorado on Thursday. He allowed four hits and two walks while falling to 3-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts this season.
Worley, 24, faced the Pirates for the second time in his career on April 8 and logged his second no-decision against them. He was charged with a run over six frames in his club's 5-4 loss.
After losing both games of a doubleheader with the Rays on Sunday, the Phillies took advantage of some mistakes by the Pirates in last night's opener and pounded out 12 hits en route to an 8-3 victory.
Pittsburgh was charged with three errors during a four-run first by Philadelphia and Jimmy Rollins later added a two-run homer. Carlos Ruiz had three hits and scored three times, while Joe Blanton pitched seven innings and struck out eight to earn the win.
"The guys helped me out early and it allows you to make some mistakes," said Blanton. "You can go right at guys more and if you give up a run it's not too bad because you know you have a lead."
Philadelphia's highest hit total in 11 games came on the same day that injured second baseman Chase Utley worked out with the club. Utley has yet to play this season due to chondromalacia in his left knee and is expected to be in action with Triple-A Lehigh Valley tonight for a rehab game. It remains possible he could rejoin the Phillies' lineup on Wednesday.
A healthy Utley could go a long way in helping the five-time defending National League East champions make up an eight-game deficit for first place in the standings.
"There's no doubt in my mind there's plenty of time," said Utley on Monday. "I know there are some people that have given up on me, and there are some people that have given up on this team. But I'll be the first one to tell you that I definitely haven't given up on myself, and I know our guys have not given up on this year. We have strong-willed guys on this team."
The Pirates, meanwhile, fell two games back of the first-place Reds in the NL Central thanks to their second loss in a row. Jose Tabata hit a solo homer and scored twice in defeat, while both Andrew McCutchen and Clint Barmes drove in a run.
Jeff Karstens was touched for seven runs -- six earned -- on 11 hits over just five innings. He made his first appearance on the mound since April 17 as he was suffering from right shoulder inflammation and a hip ailment.
"We didn't defend the ball in that first inning," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "That complicated things a lot and it put us in an early hole."
Pittsburgh catcher Rod Barajas left the game in the second inning with a bone bruise to his left knee and is day-to-day.
The Pirates took two of three over the visiting Phillies to begin the season on April 5-8, but Philadelphia has won six of the past eight overall encounters and is 15-2 in its last 17 games versus Pittsburgh at Citizens Bank Park.