Dan Haren hasn't shown quite the same sharpness since the last time he pitched against the Philadelphia Phillies. Perhaps seeing them again will help him return to form, especially considering their recent offensive struggles at home.
The Los Angeles Dodgers look for a fourth win in five games Saturday behind Haren in Philadelphia.
Haren (5-2, 3.18 ERA) was 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA through his first five starts, concluding that run by allowing three runs - one earned - in six innings of a 7-3 loss to the Phillies on April 24. He had been 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA in seven starts against them before surrendering two runs over seven innings in a 9-2 victory Aug. 9.
He's been less stingy more recently, surrendering at least three earned runs in each of his last four outings. He was charged with a season-high four earned runs and 10 hits - including two homers - over six innings of a 5-3 loss at Arizona on Sunday. The right-hander had surrendered just three homers over 50 2-3 innings in his first eight starts.
"I have to look and see what I was doing earlier in the year," Haren said.
Facing the Phillies (20-25) at Citizens Bank Park could prove to be a panacea of sorts, given their recent play there. Philadelphia has dropped six of eight at home and is one of three teams - along with the Dodgers and Arizona - yet to win at least 10 home contests.
The Phillies are averaging 3.4 runs per game at home compared to 4.4 on the road, where they're 12-12. They failed to score Friday despite having two runners on with no outs in the fourth and sixth innings against Clayton Kershaw. They were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position while being shut out for the third time in five home games.
Philadelphia has dropped 11 of 16 overall and would fall a season-worst six games below .500 with a loss Saturday.
"Kershaw did the job when he needed to and we didn't," said Marlon Byrd, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Byrd's .351 career average against the Dodgers (26-23) is still his highest versus one club, and he could fare better Saturday as he's 12 for 24 off Haren with seven extra-base hits. That .500 average is his best against any of the 65 pitchers he's faced at least 15 times.
Los Angeles continues to be led offensively by the red-hot bat of Yasiel Puig, who was 3 for 3 with an RBI and two walks Friday. Puig is batting .422 with 24 RBIs while hitting safely in 20 of his past 21 games.
The Dodgers might be in for an offensive outburst against rookie right-hander David Buchanan, who will be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make his big league debut in place of the injured Cliff Lee. Buchanan posted a 5-1 record and 3.98 ERA in nine starts for the IronPigs this season after going 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA in four starts with Philadelphia this spring.
Four rookie starters have faced the Dodgers this season, combining to go 1-3 with a 7.08 ERA. They beat Mets rookies Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Adrian Gonzalez homering against each.
Los Angeles has won seven of eight in Philadelphia.