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Lefty-heavy Phils thriving vs. southpaws

Lefty-heavy Phils thriving vs. southpaws

LOS ANGELES -- As soon as the Phillies signed left fielder Raul Ibanez in December, many fans started to worry about the Phillies having too many left-handed hitters in the lineup.

But the lefty-heavy lineup hasn't been such a killer.

The Phillies entered Thursday night's game against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw at Dodgers Stadium an impressive 13-4 against southpaw starters. They led the National League in home runs (22), RBIs (81), doubles (33), extra-base hits (59) and total bases (245) against left-handers.

The Phillies face Dodgers lefty Eric Milton on Friday night.

"[Raul] Ibanez and [Chase] Utley," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, asked why the Phillies have handled left-handed pitching. "They get on base."

Ibanez had hit .353 against left-handers this season entering this series, Utley had hit .311 and switch-hitting Shane Victorino had hit .343 to negate any perceived advantage the left-handed pitching might have had.

The Phillies hope to keep it going Friday night against Milton, who is 1-2 with a 5.56 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies.

Pitching matchup
PHI: LHP Jamie Moyer (4-5, 6.75 ERA)
Forty-six-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer was terrific on Sunday against the Nationals. In arguably his best start of the season, Moyer gave up three hits and one earned run -- a solo homer to Josh Willingham -- in six strong innings on his way to his 250th career victory. Moyer threw 102 pitches, 62 for strikes. More importantly, he struck out four and walked none. Walks had been a problem for Moyer this season. Not this time. Moyer kept the Nationals off the basepaths and allowed his defense to make plays.

LAD: LHP Eric Milton (2-0, 3.14 ERA)
Milton continued to show steady improvement in his third start, holding the Cubs scoreless at Wrigley Field for 5 1/3 innings on Sunday before hitting the wall and being removed. He was charged with allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Milton again showed that with a rebuilt elbow he can pitch effectively in the Major Leagues, but it remains to be seen if he can increase his endurance beyond the 80-pitch mark.

Manuel said he has no problem playing Dodgers left fielder Manny Ramirez if Ramirez makes the National League All-Star team. Ramirez is serving a 50-game for a violation of the leagues policy on performance-enhancing drugs but will have completed his suspension before the All-Star Game in July in St. Louis. ... Phillies rookie pitchers are 7-0 with a 2.91 ERA in 20 games (five starts). Opponents have hit just .181 against rookie left-hander J.A. Happ, which is the lowest mark amongst NL rookie pitchers. ... The Phillies bullpen entered Thursday with a 3.72 ERA, which ranked sixth in the league.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-3, 5.86) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-1, 2.53), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (Antonio Bastardo, 1-0, 1.50) at Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-1, 3.21), 8:00 p.m. ET
• Monday: Off-day

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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