The Philadelphia Phillies are on the brink of their longest losing streak in nearly 14 years.
Perhaps returning home to face Barry Zito, who has yet to win a road start this season, will help them avoid it.
Philadelphia tries to end an eight-game skid Tuesday night when it faces a struggling Zito and the San Francisco Giants.
The Phillies (49-56) started their trip with a 13-8 win over the New York Mets on July 19, then dropped the next eight games while being outscored 52-14. Three errors and three walks led to them allowing eight unearned runs in the sixth inning of a 12-4 loss at Detroit on Sunday.
Michael Young is 3 for 24 during the losing streak - he hit .342 in the previous 10 games - and 1 for 8 off Zito since the left-hander joined the Giants in 2007.
An 11-game slump from Sept. 4-14, 1999, marked the last time Philadelphia lost more than eight in a row.
"It's hard, man. It's tough," catcher Carlos Ruiz said. "We're not playing good baseball right now. It's embarrassing to see that."
The Phillies took two of three in San Francisco from May 6-8, though Zito (4-7, 4.92 ERA) started in the Giants' lone win, holding Philadelphia to one run and four hits over seven innings May 8.
Zito's season has taken a turn for the worse more recently. He's 0-4 in his last nine outings with a 6.35 ERA and only one quality start since his last win May 30.
He's struggled all year away from home, with an 0-6 record in eight games and a 9.89 ERA that is the highest among all pitchers with more than three road starts. Opponents are hitting .426 against him in those matchups.
Another loss Tuesday would mark his longest road losing streak since an eight-game slide in 2010.
Zito's last road outing, a 10-1 loss at San Diego on July 14, saw him allow four runs in two innings - his shortest start in more than two years.
San Francisco (46-58) is reeling after a 2-1 home loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, its eighth defeat in 11 games. The Giants have homered once over that span while totaling 22 runs. They were 6 1/2 games out of first place prior to that stretch but now trail Los Angeles by 10.
Buster Posey accounted for the one homer but is 1 for 23 over his last eight games.
"We're not playing good baseball," Posey said. "That's about it. We have to play better. When you're struggling, the battle is sometimes trying not to do too much."
Philadelphia will counter with a southpaw of its own in John Lannan (2-4, 4.13). He limited opponents to one run over 16 innings in his final two starts before the All-Star Break, but after waiting 11 days for his next outing, he gave up four runs and eight hits over four innings in an 11-3 loss at St. Louis on Wednesday.
Lannan is 0-1 in three starts versus San Francisco despite a 1.74 ERA, though he hasn't faced them since a 5-4 road loss June 6, 2011.
Jeff Francoeur, 7 for 35 in 11 games since being signed by the Giants, is 15 for 28 off Lannan with six doubles.
Chase Utley is 7 for 20 off Zito, with four of those hits going for extra bases. John Mayberry is 4 for 8 with three home runs.
San Francisco has won five of its last seven in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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