Phillies-Padres Preview

Roy Oswalt has dealt with back issues before and doesn’t appear

too concerned about his latest injury.

The Philadelphia Phillies are hoping he’s right.

Oswalt looks to prove he’s moved past his recent bout of back

spasms as the Phillies attempt to continue their dominance of the

San Diego Padres at Petco Park in the opener of a four-game set

Thursday night.

Back pain forced Oswalt (2-0, 2.50 ERA) from his most recent

outing Friday. He allowed two runs and four hits with six

strikeouts in six innings, but didn’t get a decision in a 4-3 loss

to Florida.

The right-hander has been bothered by back injuries twice in his

career including with Houston in 2009, when he went 8-6 with a

career-worst 4.12 ERA.

Oswalt isn’t not as worried this time, and taking his scheduled

turn in the rotation.

“This is totally different,” he told the Phillies’ official

website. “This is nothing like that. This is middle back. It’s not

really lower back. Most of the time when I have trouble with it,

it’s lower back. This is middle.”

Proving his latest injury is just a mild setback might be made

easier with a meeting against the Padres (8-10).

Oswalt is 10-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 18 games against San Diego,

including 4-1 with a 1.79 ERA in nine outings at spacious Petco


The Phillies have won seven straight and 20 of the last 24 on

the road against the Padres.

Continuing that dominance would be welcome after Philadelphia

capped a 2-3 homestand by erasing a three-run, sixth-inning deficit

en route to a 4-3 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

“Games like this keep you from going in a tailspin,” manager

Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies (11-6) hit .187 and were outscored 24-13 over the

last five games, but Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino are

providing punch at the plate.

Polanco has a .352 average with two home runs and 15 RBIs this

season after connecting for a three-run homer Wednesday.

Victorino is batting .324 with two homers, 10 RBIs and 13 runs.

He’s 11 for 25 in six road games, and 2 for 6 with a double and a

homer against Mat Latos, the Padres’ scheduled starter.

Latos (0-2, 5.84) will try to avoid becoming the third Padres’

hurler to lose a team-record eight starts in a row. The

right-hander, who started the season on the disabled list with a

strained right shoulder, has a 7.34 ERA during a personal

seven-game losing streak.

The Padres’ record for consecutive starts lost is shared by Andy

Benes, bridging the 1993 and 1994 seasons, and Dennis Rasmussen in


Latos’ got closer to joining them Saturday, as he gave up five

runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Houston.

“I felt really good,” Latos said. “I hit my spots for the most

part, but I started to leave my ball up.”

Latos was impressive in his only home start against the

Phillies, yielding one run while striking out six in seven innings

of a 3-2, 12-inning loss on Aug. 27.

San Diego has dropped five of eight at Petco. The team is

opening a seven-game homestand after splitting a doubleheader in

Chicago on Wednesday, falling 2-1 in 11 innings in the opener

before winning 5-4 in the nightcap.

The Padres collected a season-high 12 hits in second game,

connecting for three homers to match their total from the previous

nine games.