The last time the Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers were preparing to open a series, both clubs were rolling toward a division title.
That's definitely not the case this time.
Roy Halladay will try to give the Phillies back-to-back home wins for the first time in nearly a month in Monday night's series opener against the struggling Brewers.
When the Phillies headed to Milwaukee to open a September series, there was talk of a potential NLCS matchup between these teams as Philadelphia was well on its way to a fifth straight NL East crown and the Brewers were eyeing their first division title since 1982.
There's no reason for playoff conversation heading into this three-game set as Philadelphia (42-54) is last in the division and Milwaukee (44-50) is a season-high 10 1/2 back of the Central lead.
The Phillies' staggering dropoff from 2011 can largely be attributed to injuries to Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Halladay (4-5, 3.96 ERA), but even though all three are back, getting back on track in the second half is going to take a team effort.
"One guy isn't going to turn it around," Halladay told the Phillies' official website Tuesday after returning from a stint on the DL to throw five strong innings in a 3-2 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. "... We all need to chip in where we can."
John Mayberry Jr. and Jimmy Rollins did their part in Sunday's 4-3, 12-inning victory over San Francisco. Mayberry hit two solo homers and Rollins' walk-off single helped the Phillies avoid their first eight-game home skid in 40 years.
Philadelphia last won two in a row at home on June 25 and 26.
"We didn't match the record of 1972, so that's a good thing," Rollins said. "... Any time you can get one, it's a nice thing."
Having Halladay back at the top of the rotation could be a great thing for the Phillies, yet the two-time Cy Young winner is still working back into form following a seven-week absence.
"Consistency, there's still some mechanical things that I just want to be able to repeat better," he said.
Halladay went 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in two starts against Milwaukee in 2011.
The Brewers arrive in Philadelphia after getting swept at division-leading Cincinnati over the weekend.
"This sure set us back," manager Ron Roenicke said. "When you're behind three teams (in the division), it's hard to catch up."
Milwaukee will give the ball to former Phillie Randy Wolf (3-6, 5.60) on Monday when it tries to avoid a season high-tying fourth straight defeat.
The veteran left-hander is coming off his first win in 13 starts - a 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday when he gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings.
"It's been a very, I think, tumultuous year to say the least," said Wolf, 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last three starts in Philadelphia. "I've had my own personal demons to deal with, just my own frustrations. It's been tough emotionally more than anything."
The Brewers could make it easier on Wolf if they snap a 39-inning stretch without a home run.
Ryan Braun, 5 for 10 with a home run off Halladay, hit .379 (11 for 29) with a homer and a double against the Phillies in 2011.
Milwaukee won two of three in its last visit to Philadelphia from April 18-20, 2011.