The Dodgers, who also made the playoffs last year, are trying to climb up the NL West and Wild Card rankings in a hurry, and they can make a dent in Philadelphia's lead.
When the clubs meet Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium in the second game of a three-game set, the starting pitchers from both clubs will have something to prove.
For the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick will be looking to reverse a trend that has seen him struggle almost every time he's faced the Dodgers. He's 2-3 with an 8.14 ERA overall against Los Angeles and 0-2 with a 12.46 ERA at Dodger Stadium.
In his last start on Aug. 26, Kendrick took the loss after giving up four runs on nine hits in six innings against the Astros. He gave up an earned run in each of the first four innings.
His assessment of the start was brief and to the point.
"Four runs over six innings isn't a quality start," Kendrick said. "I don't think it's horrible, but I don't think it was good."
Kendrick's last start against the Dodgers, which took place Aug. 10, wasn't good, either. He took the loss that day, giving up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers' Tuesday starter, Carlos Monasterios, will try to extend himself beyond the 4 1/3 innings he lasted in his previous outing against Milwaukee as he continues to fill in for the injured Vicente Padilla.
He allowed one run on two hits that night and did not factor in the decision in the Dodgers' 7-1 win. He also struck out three and walked one but hit three batters and threw 82 pitches.
"I don't think I lost that much control," Monasterios said through an interpreter. "But since I hit that hitter, I lost a little bit of rhythm and that's what happened."
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said after the game that he thought Monasterios tried to rush through the fifth inning to put himself in line for the win. He'll see if Monasterios can keep a more controlled pace Tuesday night.
Phillies: Starters doing everything but winning
Over the last eight games, Phillies starters have posted a 2.41 ERA (56 innings pitched, 15 earned runs) but have a combined record of 3-5 over that stretch. They have pitched at least six innings in all eight games and have allowed one run or none in four of those eight starts. ... Phillies starters have issued the fewest walks (321) in the NL and have the most complete games (12) in the Majors. ... Catcher Carlos Ruiz is hitting .304 (7-for-23) with a homer and four RBIs at Dodger Stadium. He's hitting .327 (34-for-104) with four homers and 22 RBIS in his last 30 games.
Dodgers: Loney, Kemp raking Phillies
According to STATS LLC, James Loney (.351, 39-for-111) and Matt Kemp (.349, 37-for-106) rank second and third, respectively, in highest batting average against the Phillies among active players with a minimum of 100 plate appearances. Cristian Guzman of Texas is the leader at .368. ... Monasterios' only appearance against the Phillies came Aug. 10 in relief. He gave up two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is hitting .337 (29-for-86) lifetime at Dodger Stadium with five homers and 15 RBIs. He's drawn at least one walk in seven of his last 10 games, although he's hitting .184 (9-for-49) since coming back from the disabled list (left thumb sprain ) on Aug. 17. ... The Dodgers have the most wins in the Majors (15) when trailing after the first inning. The Phillies are second with 14 such victories, according to STATS LLC. ... Reliever George Sherrill has pitched scoreless ball in four straight games (2 1/3 innings) and nine of his last 10 outings (nine innings) He's limiting left-handed hitters to a .172 average (10-for-58).
Tue, 8/31 10:10 PM ET
Howard regains power to lead Phils in LA
Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer -- his first long ball since July 27 -- and Brian Schneider went deep, as the Phils roughed up ex-farmhand Carlos Monasterios and the Dodgers, who fell 6 1/2 back for the Wild Card.
|Kendrick, K, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.093|
|Romero, J, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|c-Sweeney, M, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.252|
|Weaver, Jf, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
2B: Werth (43, Monasterios), Ibanez (28, Troncoso).
HR: Schneider (4, 2nd inning off Monasterios, 2 on, 1 out), Howard (24, 3rd inning off Troncoso, 2 on, 0 out).
TB: Polanco 2; Utley 2; Howard 4; Werth 2; Ibanez 2; Schneider 4; Ruiz.
RBI: Schneider 3 (13), Howard 3 (85), Ruiz 2 (37).
2-out RBI: Ruiz 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kendrick, K; Victorino; Polanco; Brown; Howard; Sweeney, M.
SAC: Kendrick, K.
Team RISP: 3-for-15.
Team LOB: 10.
SB: Utley (6, 2nd base off Broxton/Barajas), Werth (9, 3rd base off Troncoso/Barajas).
2B: Podsednik (12, Kendrick, K), Belliard (10, Durbin).
HR: Loney (9, 6th inning off Kendrick, K, 1 on, 0 out).
TB: Podsednik 2; Carroll; Kemp 2; Loney 4; Belliard 2; Barajas; Jansen.
RBI: Loney 3 (79), Carroll (21).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kemp; Ethier; Theriot.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 5.
E: Belliard (5, fielding).
|Kendrick, K(W, 9-7)||5.0||7||4||4||1||0||1||4.72|
Monasterios pitched to 2 batters in the 3rd.
IBB: Schneider (by Troncoso), Victorino (by Sherrill), Ruiz (by Dotel).
HBP: Carroll (by Kendrick, K), Utley (by Monasterios).
Pitches-strikes: Kendrick, K 87-53, Durbin 17-10, Romero, J 16-10, Madson 9-7, Lidge 21-14, Monasterios 40-23, Troncoso 41-25, Weaver, Jf 13-9, Sherrill 22-8, Broxton 26-18, Dotel 28-13.
Groundouts-flyouts: Kendrick, K 7-4, Durbin 0-3, Romero, J 3-0, Madson 0-1, Lidge 2-1, Monasterios 1-3, Troncoso 7-1, Weaver, Jf 1-1, Sherrill 1-1, Broxton 1-0, Dotel 2-0.
Batters faced: Kendrick, K 23, Durbin 4, Romero, J 3, Madson 3, Lidge 3, Monasterios 12, Troncoso 13, Weaver, Jf 4, Sherrill 5, Broxton 6, Dotel 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Troncoso 2-2, Broxton 3-2.
Umpires: HP: Tony Randazzo. 1B: Paul Nauert. 2B: Brian Gorman. 3B: Ted Barrett.
Weather: 74 degrees, clear.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to CF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media