(Sports Network) – Run support has been an issue for Phillies starter Cole Hamels this year, but his club has scored plenty of runs during its current four-game winning streak over the Marlins.
Funny then that Hamels might not actually need all that support.
The former World Series MVP will look to extend a career-best 25 scoreless innings streak this evening when first-place Philadelphia plays the middle contest of a three-game set with Florida at Sun Life Stadium.
Despite a 3.06 earned run average that ranks 13th in the National League, Hamels is just 10-10 in 29 starts. The 26-year-old has won each of his last three starts to get to the .500 mark, throwing 22 shutout innings in that span.
Hamels’ last win came over the Marlins on Wednesday as he scattered four hits and a walk over four innings and left with a 10-run lead. However, Florida plated six runs off the Phils’ bullpen as the club sweated out a 10-6 victory.
“I was just trying to make good, aggressive pitches and execute pitch by pitch, and I think that’s what I was able to do. I was able to keep them off- balance,” said Hamels, whose streak is the longest since Randy Wolf’s 27 scoreless inning run in 2002.
The southpaw is just 3-7 with a 3.92 ERA in his career versus the Marlins and will try tonight to slow down Dan Uggla this evening. The Florida slugger hit his 30th homer of the season in Monday’s opener, becoming the first second baseman in MLB history to reach that mark in four straight seasons, but it was hardly enough in his club’s 11-4 setback.
“It was a bad game, but you still have to play and the numbers still count,” Uggla told Florida’s website. “That’s not what you’re trying to do. Obviously, we were trying to come back and win. We just kind of ran out of innings. It just so happened that that home run fell on this game. It’s over with and done with, and I can enjoy it a little bit.”
Just one of Uggla’s 151 career homers have come off Hamels, who he is just 5- for-35 against lifetime.
Logan Morrison added a solo homer on Monday, but Andrew Miller gave up seven runs — five earned — over five innings as the Marlins had a three-game win streak end.
Philadelphia overshadowed Uggla’s blast with four homers of its own, including a two-run shot from Carlos Ruiz as part of a four-RBI night. Jayson Werth, Chase Utley and Greg Dobbs also homered, while Ryan Howard drove in a run to give him 100 RBI for a fifth straight season.
The victory, the Phillies’ sixth in seven games, helped them maintain their one-game edge over the Braves for the top spot in the National League East.
“Our guys stay on an even keel. If you get to know them you see they don’t get too high, they don’t get too low,” said Phils manager Charlie Manuel. “We’ve proved we can play in close games. That’s a good sign. That’s the mark of a good team.”
The Phillies may find their bats cooled off tonight given how they fared against Adalberto Mendez in the 28-year-old’s major league debut last Monday.
Mendez held the Phils to just one hit by backup catcher Brian Schneider and two walks over six scoreless inning, striking out six in a 7-1 victory. The right-hander was forced to exit after suffering a leg cramp while running the bases.
“[Mendez] was throwing strikes and attacking the hitters,” said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. “Everybody was wondering about him. After the third inning, they were saying ‘The kid’s for real.’”
Mendez’s victory, which came in the first game of a doubleheader last week, is Florida’s lone win over Philadelphia in the last eight meetings. The Phillies have won 11 of the 16 overall meetings in 2010.