The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping they aren't reverting back to their late June ways and will try to get back in the swing of things tonight versus the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series.
The Dodgers lost grip on the NL West lead with five losses in the past six games after opening July with four victories in five tries. They closed out June with seven straight defeats and a 1-11 mark.
Los Angeles lost two of three matchups with the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium over the weekend and suffered a 7-2 setback on Sunday. Chris Capuano made a spot start for Chad Billingsley, who is battling right elbow pain, and was dealt the loss for giving up four unearned runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Capuano had to deal with a season-high five errors in the field.
"Cap was good. We didn't make any plays for him," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Jerry Hairston Jr. and Andre Ethier both had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, who are now 1 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the NL West lead.
As for Billingsley, an MRI revealed inflammation in his elbow and is expected to have another examination on his arm.
"As far as what they saw, I have to go back and get another (MRI) to get a little bit of a better view of it," Billingsley told the club's website.
Nathan Eovaldi will be moved up a day to start for LA tonight. Eovaldi finally notched his first win of the season in a 4-1 triumph at Arizona on July 5. He allowed one run in six innings, pushing his record to 1-5 in eight starts and lowering his earned run average to 4.21.
Eovaldi had allowed 16 runs over his previous three starts. The right-hander is 0-2 in three home starts this season and has never faced the Phillies.
Philadelphia is coming off a series win at Colorado and took the last two contests of a three-game set. The subject of trade rumors or possibly a large deal from the Phillies, Cole Hamels delivered eight innings of one-run ball, struck out seven and scattered six hits for his 11th win (11-4).
Antonio Bastardo closed the door in the ninth to preserve the victory.
"This was big for us, to come back after the break and take the series," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have a winning streak. I don't know if you call two games a winning streak or not, but we do."
Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer, while Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz each had an RBI for Philadelphia, which is still last in the NL East at 14 games off the lead and picked up its first series win since June 19-21 versus Colorado at Citizens Bank Park. The last time Philly won three straight was during a four-game run from May 23-26.
The Phillies had dropped their previous eight Sunday contests and announced that they plan to activate ace Roy Halladay from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Halladay was placed on the DL on May 29 due to a right latissimus dorsi strain. He will start against the Dodgers on Tuesday.
Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley had Sunday off, but should be ready tonight.
Getting the call for Philadelphia this evening will be Joe Blanton. Blanton has lost two straight starts since going 3-0 in his previous four and was rattled by Atlanta his last time out in a 6-3 setback on July 7, when he gave up six runs -- five earned -- and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. Blanton fell to 7-8 in 18 games (17 starts) to go along with a 4.98 ERA.
The right-handed Blanton is only 3-5 on the road this season, but 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles swept a four-game set in Philadelphia from June 4-7 this season.