Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas – Matt Harrison (3-4, 4.27), Philadelphia – Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.09)
(Sports Network) – The Phillies will attempt to keep the Texas Rangers winless in Philadelphia as they try to sweep their three-game series this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies and Rangers met for the first time in the City of Brotherly Love back in 2005, with the Phils outscoring the Rangers 20-13 in winning all three games. There hasn’t been as much offense this time around in Philadelphia, where the Phils took Friday’s opener 3-2 before Cliff Lee and Ryan Madson combined for last night’s 2-0 shutout victory.
Lee, facing Texas for the first time since helping lead the franchise to the World Series last year, scattered five hits and two walks over eight innings, striking out 10. Ryan Madson then shut the door in the final inning for his ninth save.
“Those guys know I throw a lot of fastballs, so I tried to throw a little less than I normally would,” Lee said. “I was throwing strikes and mixing speeds.”
The Phillies, winners of two straight and three of four since a four-game slide, did show some signs of getting their struggling offense in check. Ryan Howard ended an 0-for-23 slump with his 10th homer of the season in the second inning, while Philly as a club halted a string of seven straight games with six hits or fewer by finishing with eight.
Philadelphia leads Florida by 1 1/2 games for first place in the National League East, while Texas is a half-game up on the Angels for the top spot in the American League West. The Rangers’ current three-game slide matches its longest of the season.
Michael Young had three of Texas’ six hits and Colby Lewis took the loss after giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings.
“We just couldn’t get anything going. When we did, [Lee] found a way to make pitches and get out of it,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “That’s exactly what the good ones do and he’s a good one.”
Rangers starter Matt Harrison takes aim at his first victory in six starts when he toes the rubber this afternoon.
The left-hander had dropped four straight starts before getting a no-decision versus the White Sox on Tuesday. Harrison allowed three runs on three hits and four walks over seven innings, his longest start since his last victory on April 15.
“It’s definitely frustrating. I felt good the whole game,” said Harrison on Texas’ official website. “The fact of the matter is I walked too many people tonight.”
The 25-year-old is 3-4 with a 4.27 earned run average in eight starts this year and will face the Phillies for the first time in his career. Harrison is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in six all-time appearances during interleague play, including two starts.
Making the start for the Phillies today will be right-hander Roy Oswalt, his second since returning from a stint on the disabled list due to lower back inflammation.
In his first start since April 26, Oswalt faced the Cardinals on Tuesday and did not factor into the decision of a 2-1 loss, yielding a run on seven hits over five innings of work.
“I actually felt pretty decent coming out of the bullpen with some of my pitches,” said Oswalt, who is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in six starts this year. “I was able to throw two or three different pitches for strikes.”
The 33-year-old former Astros ace has plenty of experience facing the Rangers, going 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 starts against them. Oswalt is 11-9 with a 3.73 ERA in 28 interleague starts.
The Rangers went 14-4 versus the NL a season ago, while the Phillies were 10-8 in interleague play.