The Phillies have been struggling at home so far this season, going into their series opener with the Dodgers on Friday with an 8-12 mark at Citizens Bank Park. The opener with Los Angeles will be the first contest of an 11-game homestand that would be a good time to reverse that course and gain ground in the National League East, as Philadelphia sits 4 1/2 games behind division-leading Atlanta.
The Phils are hoping their recent success against the Dodgers will continue this weekend. Philadelphia took three of four from Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on April 21-24, outscoring the Dodgers, 19-10, in the series.
Veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez is slated to take the mound for Philadelphia. In his only career start against Los Angeles, Hernandez was hit hard for five earned runs on eight hits in four innings on Aug. 10 of last year, when he pitched for the Rays.
Hernandez will have his hands full with a hot Dodgers lineup that is hitting .272 over its past 15 games. If the Dodgers are hot at the plate, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is white-hot, hitting .474 (9-for-19) with three home runs and six RBIs over his past five games despite an 0-for-3 night Thursday against the Mets.
Los Angeles is scheduled to counter with reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander, who missed six weeks with a back injury following his Opening Day start against the D-backs in Australia, has struggled since returning from the disabled list. After a brilliant start in which he tossed seven shutout frames against the Nationals on May 6, Kershaw has given up 10 runs in 8 2/3 innings since.
In his last start on Saturday against Arizona, he was unable to get through the second, getting roughed up for seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Kershaw was struck on the right shin by a line drive off the bat of Justin Turner during batting practice Wednesday, but said he was fine and has had the shin wrapped the past two days.
Phillies: Pettibone's shoulder issues
Right-hander Jonathan Pettibone, who made two starts in April for the Phillies (going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA) before being optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, has a small tear in his right shoulder, known as a SLAP tear (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior) and has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list.
Pettibone elected not to have surgery for now, but instead received a second cortisone injection.
"He's going to rest it until [May 31], and then start a throwing program," said Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro. "I don't have any timeline after that. It'll just depend on how he feels, how he's progressing."
The DL stint for Pettibone marks the third time in less than a year that he has had to stop throwing due to shoulder issues.
Dodgers: Running wild
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has his club being very aggressive on the basepaths, and it's started at the top of the lineup for Los Angeles.
Second baseman Dee Gordon, who was given the day off Thursday, has a Major League-leading 25 stolen bases, nine more than Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton. Gordon has only been caught stealing three times.
As a team, the Dodgers have swiped a Major League-leading 52 bags in 68 attempts, 13 more than any other team. Los Angeles' stolen-base success rate is 76.5 percent.
• With a single to center field in the third inning of the Phillies' 4-3 loss to the Marlins on Thursday, shortstop Jimmy Rollins surpassed Richie Ashburn for second place on Philadelphia's all-time hit list. Rollins now has 2,218 hits, 16 behind the Phils' all-time hits leader, Mike Schmidt.
• Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is hitting .344 (22-for-64) since May 3, and is a career .390 hitter (23-for-59) in 15 games at Citizens Bank Park.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.