Phillies-Dodgers Preview

Roy Halladay is back, and the Philadelphia Phillies surely need

help from their ace.

Halladay is expected to be activated from the disabled list for

his first start in almost two months when the Phillies go for a

fourth win in a row Tuesday night against the host Los Angeles

Dodgers.

Sidelined since May 27 with a right latissimus dorsi strain,

Halladay (4-5, 3.98 ERA) is the latest key piece to come back for

the Phillies after the recent returns of Ryan Howard and Chase

Utley.

Philadelphia (40-51) is hoping the two-time Cy Young Award

winner can provide a spark for the five-time reigning NL East

champions, who reside in the division cellar – 13 games behind

first-place Washington.

“It gives us a lot of hope,” Howard said. “I mean, you have to

forget what happened in the first half. We just have to keep doing

what we’re doing right now as a team and as a unit. The goal for us

right now is just to go out and win a series, no matter who’s on

the mound.”

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, allowed an unearned run in

three innings in a rehab start for Class-A Clearwater on Thursday

and threw a bullpen session two days later. He didn’t think another

rehab start was necessary, which was fine with manager Charlie

Manuel.

The right-hander has won four of five career starts against the

Dodgers behind a 1.93 ERA, including his latest visit to Chavez

Ravine on Aug. 8. Manuel hasn’t given Halladay a set pitch limit,

but he’ll be monitored closely.

“I’d say six innings would be realistic, probably. But we’ll

see,” Manuel said. “We’ll probably work off him. If he’s healthy

and can work back up to where he can go eight innings or finish a

game, I would project that he’s going to win a lot of games for

us.”

Howard came through Monday, connecting for a solo shot for his

first homer of the year to provide the difference in a 3-2 victory

– the Phillies’ sixth straight win in Los Angeles.

“I feel good,” Howard said. “Now it’s just a matter of getting

back into the flow of playing at this level, making adjustments and

slowing myself down at times. Sometimes I get to be too quick.”

The first baseman is 3 for 20 in six games since returning from

the disabled list following left Achilles surgery, but he has three

homers in his past five contests against the Dodgers.

Los Angeles (48-43) has dropped six of seven overall and will

turn to Stephen Fife on Tuesday after placing right-hander Chad

Billingsley on the 15-day DL due to right elbow inflammation.

Fife, who will make his major league debut, is 7-5 with a 4.53

ERA in 18 starts for Triple-A Albuquerque. The right-hander was

acquired in a four-player trade with Boston at last year’s trade

deadline.