A rough start to the season has the Philadelphia Phillies sitting in the basement of the National League East. They'll try to get on track tonight against a club they have dominated as of late in the first of four straight games against the San Diego Padres.
The Phillies have won the last five NL East titles, a run that includes a World Series championship in 2008. However, they are just 5-7 on the young season, putting them a game behind the Marlins for fourth place in the standings.
Philadelphia's struggling offense led to a 1-0 loss in the rubber match of a three-game series with the Giants on Wednesday. Phillies starter Cliff Lee hurled 10 scoreless innings, but the club's bats managed just four hits in the 11-inning setback.
Lee became the first Phillies starting pitcher to throw more than nine innings in a game since Terry Mullholland in May of 1993, and also became the first Phillies hurler to toss 10 scoreless innings since Steve Carlton in 1981.
"I was able to put it all together and they hit the ball to our defense," Lee said of his outing, which resulted in the club's fourth loss in six games.
The Phillies will look to turn things around against the Padres, who they had beaten 10 straight times before a setback in the final encounter last season on July 25.
Philadelphia has still won 17 of its past 20 versus the Padres, winning 11 in a row at San Diego. The Phillies haven't lost on the road in this series since Aug. 16, 2008.
Vance Worley will look to keep that win streak going tonight in his first career start against the Padres.
The 24-year-old righty pitched well in his season debut at Pittsburgh on April 8, getting a no-decision. However, Worley took the loss versus the Mets on Saturday, dropping a 5-0 decision while getting charged with four runs on eight hits and four walks over six innings. He gave up two homers in the defeat.
Countering for the Padres will be Joe Wieland, who makes the second start of his career.
Wieland made his major league debut on Saturday in Los Angeles and struggled early in a loss. Though he retired 10 of the final 12 batters faced, he was still charged with six runs on six hits over five innings. He gave up a pair of home runs to Matt Kemp and another to Andre Ethier.
"I would have liked for better results, but I battled back. Once I got those jitters out of the way, I was fine," said the 22-year-old righty. "My pitches to Matt [Kemp] were up, and he showed why he's one of the best hitters in the league. After my first-game jitters were gone, I was able to hit my spots."
San Diego has won just three of its 13 games so far this season and lost for the sixth time in seven games on Wednesday with an 8-4 defeat to Colorado.
Chase Headley homered twice for San Diego, while Clayton Richard was tagged for eight runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.