Thanks to the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers, the beginning of Ryne Sandberg's managerial career in Philadelphia is off to a poor start.
The Dodgers can complete the series sweep with an 11th straight victory Sunday when they face a Phillies team in danger of being shut out in three consecutive games.Clayton Kershaw allowed three hits and struck out eight over eight innings and Juan Uribe hit a three-run homer to highlight Los Angeles' 5-0 victory Saturday.The Dodgers have won a remarkable 42 of 50 overall -- the best such stretch since the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals did the same. They last won 11 in a row July 28-Aug. 8, 2006.Los Angeles' 19 wins in 20 road games is the best since the 1916 New York Giants made the same run.The franchise also hasn't started a month 16-1 since June 1899 when it was the Brooklyn Superbas.Los Angeles has won six straight road contests against the Phillies (53-69), who have dropped four straight and 21 of 25 overall."When you're facing the best you kind of get a gauge of where you are," Sandberg said.Kershaw and Zack Greinke have held the Phillies to three hits in each of the first two games since Sandberg replaced the fired Charlie Manuel as manager Friday."Their pitching showed what it can do, and they're on a hot streak right now," Sandberg said.Philadelphia was last shut out in three straight games by the New York Mets from May 25-27, 2010. The Dodgers blanked three consecutive opponents July 7-9, 2011.Los Angeles, however, could face a tough task against scheduled Phillies starter Cole Hamels (5-13, 3.65 ERA), who is mired in his worst season but is 6-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 10 regular season and playoff starts versus Los Angeles.Hamels also improved to 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA in his last four starts overall after he allowed a run and struck out nine to record his first complete game of the year in Monday's 5-1 victory at Atlanta."(It's) just being able to go out and not let the little things get to you," the left-hander told the Phillies' official website. "When you start a game, you have a plan, and (you have to be) able to stick with your routine."The Dodgers hand the ball to Ricky Nolasco (9-9, 3.62), who tries to win four straight starts for the first time since 2010. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA in seven starts since coming to Los Angeles from Miami, and 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in August.He allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday."He never gives up and never gives in to hitters," said Mets catcher John Buck, a former teammate of Nolsaco with the Marlins. "He executes pitches when he needs to, and keeps the team in the ballgame."Though Nolasco is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA against the Phillies this season, this will be his first start against them as a Dodger.All-Star Domonic Brown, who had one of Philadelphia's hits Saturday, is 6 for 15 with a double, triple and home run versus Nolasco.However, teammates Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young are each 1 for 9 against him this season. Rollins is 1 for 15 in the last four overall.Uribe is 1 for 13 against Hamels, but 13 for 26 in the last eight games overall.
Ricky Nolasco has thrown off-speed pitches 55 percent of the time, fifth highest in the NL. The Phillies have slugged .335 in at-bats ending in an off-speed pitch, sixth worst in the league.
Darin Ruf has slugged .963 in August at-bats ending in a fastball or sinker, fourth best in MLB. Ricky Nolasco has given up a .479 slugging percentage in at-bats ending in his fastball, seventh worst in the NL among qualified pitchers.