Nineteen games into their regular season schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers will play just their second series against a team outside of the NL West. Beginning Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies and Dodgers start a four-game set at Dodger Stadium.
Paul Maholm, winless on the season, is making his third start for the Dodgers. In his first start, Maholm pitched 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits in a 7-2 home loss to the San Francisco Giants. Maholm’s second outing was markedly better, though also he took the no-decision in another Dodger loss. The left-hander hasn’t had much success against the Phillies in his last six starts, going 2-2 with a 6.52 ERA. However, Maholm has faced the Phillies eight times in his career and is 5-3.
In extensive at-bats against Maholm, both Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have hit .333 off Maholm with seven doubles, collectively. Ryan Howard is hitting .231 and has the most RBIs, seven, among the Phillies who have faced Maholm, but also leads among all Phillies in strikeouts with seven.
Taking the mound for the Phillies is Cliff Lee, whom the Dodgers once were in pursuit of. Lee isn’t quite the dominant pitcher of years past, though he is coming off a 14-8 season in 2013, which correlated with his second highest WAR mark of his career at 7.3. The bounce back season was a positive turn of events for Lee after a disappointing 6-9 campaign in 2012. Lee is 2-2 through four starts this season, however his record isn’t exactly an indictment on him. Lee’s first start was a five-inning outing where he allowed eight runs on 11 wins and collected a win. The left-hander’s last start was a one-run loss where Lee threw a complete game and struck out 13.
Despite his .500 record this season, Lee presents an interesting challenge to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and how he decided to assemble his lineup. The starting outfielders have typically been determined based on match ups, however none of the Dodgers’ five outfielders have fared particularly well against Lee. Combined, the five are 9-for-74, with Carl Crawford the most successful of the group with a .212 average. As has been custom, Mattingly is going with an all right-handed outfield. Yasiel Puig looks to improve on his personal mark of 1-for-7 against Lee from the leadoff spot tonight. Also not in the lineup is Dee Gordon, despite his relative success this season against left-handed pitching.
LF: Van Slyke
Dodgers Story: Yasiel Puig’s Shocking Escape From Cuba