Phillies-Dodgers Preview

Roy Oswalt pitched seven scoreless innings against the Los

Angeles Dodgers three weeks ago, exactly the type of outing the

Philadelphia Phillies were hoping the three-time All-Star could

provide down the stretch.

He hasn’t slowed down since.

Oswalt has performed like an ace in his past four outings, a

standard he’ll look to maintain in Wednesday’s finale as he tries

to lead the Phillies to a series victory at Dodger Stadium.

Oswalt (9-13, 3.12 ERA) was 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA in his first two

starts with the Phillies (74-58) after coming over from Houston

prior to the trade deadline, but he’s flashed his dominant form in

his past four outings.

The right-hander held the Dodgers (68-65) to five hits in a 2-0

win Aug. 11, the first of three straight victories. Oswalt pitched

well enough to deserve one Friday at San Diego, allowing a run over

eight innings in Philadelphia’s 3-2, 10-inning win.

“He did a fantastic job,” Padres second baseman David Eckstein

said. “He’s been great his last four starts. He was really mixing

it up well.”

Oswalt is 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 10 starts versus the Dodgers

and 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his last two road starts against


He’s done an outstanding job retiring Los Angeles’ 3-4-5

hitters. Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and James Loney are a combined 6

for 34 (.176) against Oswalt.

Kemp had two hits and Loney a two-run homer Tuesday, but that

wasn’t enough to catch up to the Phillies. Brian Schneider hit a

three-run shot in the second inning and Ryan Howard followed with a

three-run homer in the third – his first since July 27 – as

Philadelphia won 8-4 to even the series.

The Phillies maintained their 1 1/2-game wild-card lead over San

Francisco while staying within three of NL East-leading


“I feel like I’ve had some good at-bats and good swings over the

last five, six games,” said Howard, who came into the game in a

4-for-49 slump. “I was just happy to have gotten a hit.”

Howard will be happy to see September’s arrival. He’s a .307

hitter with 49 homers during the month, both career bests.

“He’s got to get going,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

Los Angeles opposes Oswalt with Clayton Kershaw (11-8, 3.01),

who is 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in seven afternoon starts.

The left-hander posted a 2.03 ERA in his final four August

outings, but has one win to show for it. Kershaw held Colorado to a

run over six innings Friday, but the Dodgers’ offensive surge

didn’t come until late in a 6-2 victory.

Picking up a win Wednesday won’t be easy. Kershaw has gone 0-4

with a 6.31 ERA in nine games – six starts – against the Phillies,

including the postseason.

His biggest nemesis has been Carlos Ruiz, who drove in the final

two runs Tuesday with a pinch-hit single in the seventh.

Philadelphia’s catcher is 3 for 7 with a homer and three walks

versus Kershaw.

The Phillies, who conclude a seven-game trip Thursday with a

makeup contest against Colorado, last won a regular-season series

at Dodger Stadium in 2005.