(Sports Network) - In another attempt to resurrect the ballclub's drowning fate, the Philadelphia Phillies will welcome back starting pitcher Roy Halladay tonight in the second portion of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Halladay has been sidelined since late May because of a strained right latissimus dorsi, which affected the ace's velocity on his fastball. He tossed three innings (61 pitches) in a rehab stint with the Class-A Clearwater Threshers and gave up one unearned run on three hits. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
"He was a little rusty, but that surprised no one. He got his work in; that's the important thing," Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan told the club's website. "He was executing. His two-seam fastball at times looked good and his breaking ball was in the zone quite a bit. There wasn't a whole lot of damage. Only one ball was hit hard off him."
The 35-year-old right-hander threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session at Coors Field in Colorado, where the Phillies took two of three over the weekend. Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Halladay "looked fine" and is "feeling a lot better." The Phillies will have Halladay on a pitch count for tonight's contest at Dodger Stadium, where he is 3-1 with a 2.15 earned run average.
Halladay is just 1-5 with a 5.29 earned run average in his last eight starts and 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts overall. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, Halladay will see big league action for the first time since May 27, when he lasted only two innings and allowed four runs in an 8-3 loss at St. Louis. He is 4-1 in five career starts against the Dodgers.
Philadelphia activated both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard off the disabled list recently in hopes of turning the season around, but so far the results have been insignificant. The club, which occupies last place in the NL East, is counting on a healthy rotation with Halladay back in the fold to help string some wins together.
The Phillies won their third straight game on Monday by handing the Dodgers a 3-2 loss. Howard homered for the first time this season and Jimmy Rollins added a solo home run for Philadelphia, which is riding its longest winning streak since a four-game run from May 23-26.
Joe Blanton was on point through eight innings and allowed two runs with seven strikeouts and no walks. Jonathan Papelbon registered his 20th save in the ninth.
"When I kept the ball down I had good results," Blanton said. "I thought I threw the ball really well. I tried to throw as many strikes as I could."
Los Angeles is now two games behind San Francisco for the NL West lead after losing its third straight game and sixth in seven tries on Monday.
Nathan Eovaldi started for the Dodgers and gave up all three runs in five innings of work. It was his first career appearance against the Phillies.
"We were fighting all the way," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Nathan was okay tonight, but when you leave a ball over the plate, you get hurt. Rollins and Howard will make you pay."
Juan Rivera had a team-high two hits for the Dodgers.
It is unknown who will start for Los Angeles tonight and Chad Billingsley will most likely rest his ailing right elbow. Billingsley, who was scratched from Sunday's start versus San Diego, underwent a second MRI which revealed inflammation, and had a catch prior to Monday's game. A possible candidate is a reliever or prospect Stephen Fife of Triple-A Albuquerque.
Los Angeles swept a four-game set in Philadelphia from June 4-7 this season.
07/17 10:58:28 ET