When the Phillies visit the D-backs in Chase Field on Tuesday night, Philadelphia's Oswalt will try to continue the excellence he's shown on the mound in the early part of the season. Arizona's Hudson will be looking for a turnaround.
For Oswalt, a repeat of his last outing would do the trick. In that game, last Thursday on the road against the Padres, Oswalt allowed one hit and two walks while striking out seven in six shutout innings. He threw 106 pitches while improving to 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts this season. He is 10-1 with a 1.77 ERA since he joined the Phillies last July.
"They made him earn everything he got," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "They ran his pitch count up."
Hudson experienced the same fate, but not the same results. Last Thursday in Cincinnati, he gave up four runs and walked three, including two with the bases loaded, in the first inning and the D-backs lost to the Reds.
Hudson retired 12 consecutive hitters in one stretch after his rocky start and made it into the sixth inning but saw his record drop to 0-4.
"I can't keep putting the team in a deficit like that early and expect something good to come out of it," Hudson said. "Extremely frustrating. It's unacceptable. I don't know what it is. It's just a funk I'm in right now."
"I think he got frustrated," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He lost a little of his composure. I saw him kind of kick the mound there. He's got good stuff. He's just trying too hard."
Phillies: Serious arms doing serious work
Through nearly one month of play, the Phillies lead all Major League clubs with a 2.11 ERA (23 earned runs in 98 innings pitched) on the road. They've pitched four shutouts on the road, which is twice as many as the next closest clubs (Boston, Milwaukee and Texas), who have two. They've won six of their last seven road games.
Third baseman Placido Polanco has 32 hits in April, becoming the seventh different Phillies player in the last 42 years to have at least 30 hits in April. The others: Chase Utley (38 in 2008), Aaron Rowand (34 in 2007), Jimmy Rollins (33 in 2003 and 2007, 35 in 2002), Doug Glanville (31 in 1998), John Kruk (33 in 1992) and Tommy Herr (33 in 1989).
The Phillies have scored a total of 32 runs over their last 12 games after scoring 63 over the first 10 games. In the current 12-game stretch, they have an 8-4 record. They've been shut out twice, including Monday night, scored two runs once, three runs six times and four runs three times.
D-backs: Gibson preparing for tough arms
Gibson is well-aware of how good the Phillies' starters are. After the D-backs beat Cliff Lee, who struck out 12 batters, on Monday, and Oswalt will go Tuesday, the D-backs will have to face lefty Cole Hamels in the series finale on Wednesday. The Arizona skipper was asked how a team prepares to face pitching like that. "The same way you prepare every day," he said. "You try to get good pitches to hit and take advantage of your opportunities. It's something we didn't do very good on the road at all. I think we were 8-for-50 with runners in scoring position. We had a lot of opportunities and unable to capitalize on. We know the Phillies, offensively, are formidable, for sure, and pitching-wise, they are off the charts. It's a big challenge. You have to play good. You don't want to be giving eight runs or any outs away against these guys. You have to take advantage of any opportunities you get."
Third baseman Ryan Roberts went 1-for-3 with a run and a stolen base Monday and has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 12 straight games, batting .342 (13-for-38) with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.
Shortstop Stephen Drew has hit safely in 12 of 17 games at a .328 clip (21-for-64) with seven doubles, two triples, a homer and 14 RBIs.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has yet to make an error while ranking second in the NL in total chances. He also has 11 hits in his last 61 at-bats (.180) after starting the season 12-for-23 (.522). He needs 75 hits for 1,000 in his career and 33 RBIs for 800.
Oswalt has a career 9-2 record with a 1.91 ERA against Arizona and 74 strikeouts in 85 innings.
Arizona reliever Joe Paterson inherited a bases-loaded jam from Juan Gutierrez and promptly struck out the Mets' Ike Davis in the eighth inning Sunday, which was his franchise-record 10th straight scoreless outing to start his career, surpassing Doug Slaten's previous mark of nine games (5 2/3 innings pitched) in 2006.