Andre Ethier and the Dodgers had success in Philadelphia last month, but the dark cloud was about to hit their season.
What a difference a month makes.
On June 7, the Dodgers beat Cole Hamels and the Phillies 8-3 in Philadelphia to complete their first four-game sweep in the city of brotherly love since 1946. The Dodgers after that sweep were 37-21, three and a half games clear of Washington for the best record in baseball.
Since then the Dodgers have lost seven of their 10 series and are just 11-21 during that span. But the Phillies, preseason favorites in the National League East, have not been much better at 11-20, and their hopes of a turnaround has devolved into a series of questions wondering just how their season (39-51 to date) has gone wrong.
Since their June 7 meeting, the Dodgers (-36) and Phillies (-24) have the fourth and fifth worst run differentials in the National League, ahead of only Colorado (-49), Miami (-50), and Houston (-52) during that span.
Chase Utley (.262/.289/.405 in 45 plate appearances) and Ryan Howard (2-for-16 with a double and two walks) are back for Philadelphia but they aren't quite back just yet. Meanwhile, Matt Kemp (5-for-9 with a double) and Andre Ethier (5-for-11 with a home run and five RBI) have transitioned back into the Dodgers lineup quite nicely thus far, in all of three games.
Ethier is 7-for-20 with two home runs in his career against Monday starter Joe Blanton, but those home runs came in 2008 and 2009. Back in 2012, Blanton has allowed five or more runs in seven of his last 10 starts, allowing 18 home runs in 61 2/3 innings during that span with a 6.57 ERA. Blanton just might be the perfect remedy for Kemp to hit his first non-Flippo home run since April.
James Loney is 8-for-15 with a double and three walks against Blanton, including the postseason, but none of those plate appearances came after 2009. Juan Rivera is 5-for-12 with two doubles off Blanton, but he hasn't faced Blanton since 2006 when the two were American League West foes with the Angels and A's, respectively.
Nathan Eovaldi was originally slated to start Tuesday for the Dodgers, but was moved up to Monday after Sunday's rotation shuffle. Eovaldi is coming off a win in his last start, allowing one run in six innings in Arizona on July 5, but he hasn't had a start with more strikeouts than walks since June 13. In his last four starts, Eovaldi has eight walks and six strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings, and a corresponding 6.85 ERA.
Since opening the season 21-5 at home, the Dodgers have lost 13 of their last 20 games at Dodger Stadium.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket