Phillies-Diamondbacks Preview

Roy Oswalt is the only starter in the Philadelphia Phillies’
star-studded rotation who has yet to lose.

Given his history against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the
struggles of his counterpart on the mound Tuesday, he appears
unlikely to lose yet.

Oswalt will face winless Daniel Hudson when the Phillies and
Diamondbacks continue their three-game set at Chase Field.

Arizona (9-12) won Monday’s series opener 4-0, handing Cliff Lee
his second defeat. Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton have
one loss apiece.

Oswalt (3-0, 1.88 ERA) has pitched six innings in each of his
four starts. He was efficient with 90 pitches or fewer in the first
three before he labored to throw 106 on Thursday, allowing one hit
over six innings of a 3-0 victory at San Diego.

“They made him earn everything he got,” manager Charlie Manuel
told the Phillies’ official website. “They ran his pitch count
up.”

Oswalt’s 1.91 ERA in 12 starts against the Diamondbacks is his
lowest against any NL team. He’s 9-2 in those games, although he’s
2-1 with a more pedestrian 4.15 ERA in four outings at Chase
Field.

Chris Young has enjoyed the most success against Oswalt among
Diamondbacks hitters, going 6 for 15. Young also came through
against Lee with a two-run homer in the third inning Monday to
break out of a 1-for-22 slump and help Arizona end a four-game
slide.

The Diamondbacks entered the series with the worst ERA in
baseball at 5.16, but Ian Kennedy pitched a three-hitter for his
first complete game.

Philadelphia (15-7) had a season-high five-game win streak
snapped. The Phillies’ 39 runs since April 10 are the fewest in
baseball. Raul Ibanez is 0 for 18 in his last six games, Shane
Victorino is 2 for 19 on the current road trip and slugger Ryan
Howard is homerless in his last 12 contests.

“We’ve just got to keep going to work on it,” Manuel said.
“Either we’re going to do it or we’re not. We’re going to keep
working. We’ve got to fight every day.”

The Phillies have gone seven straight games without scoring in
the first inning, but that could change against Hudson (0-4, 5.92).
He has given up nine runs in the opening frame over his last three
outings, including four in Thursday’s 7-4 loss at Cincinnati.

“I can’t keep putting my team in a deficit and expect them to
fight their way out of it,” said Hudson, who surrendered seven runs
over 5 1-3 innings. “I’ve got to fight through this. I’m extremely
frustrated. That’s three straight games – four straight, really –
where I’ve struggled in the first inning. That’s unacceptable.”

The right-hander has never faced the Phillies. Placido Polanco,
the only Philadelphia hitter to ever face him, is hitless in three
at-bats.

Polanco, though, continues to be the most consistent threat for
the Phillies, raising his team-best average to .372 with two hits
Monday.