Wins haven't been easy to come by for Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, but he got the best of the New York Mets earlier this season.
Manager Terry Collins' club has generally struggled in the series of late.
Hoping to avoid becoming the majors' first 11-game loser, Hamels tries to lead the Phillies to a sixth consecutive win over the visiting Mets in Friday night's opener.
After posting double-digit wins in each of the previous six seasons, Hamels (2-10, 4.40 ERA) has had a rough go this year. The three-time All-Star, who went a career-best 17-6 in 2012, is tied with the Los Angeles Angels' Joe Blanton for the most losses in baseball.
"I'm not happy about it, because there's a reason I want to be here, and that's to win," Hamels, whose run support average of 2.97 ranks as one of the NL's lowest, told MLB's official website.
Hamels went toe-to-toe with Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin on Sunday but suffered another loss in a 5-2 defeat, allowing three runs in seven innings. Hamels, who lost a career-high 11 games in 2009 and 2010, fell to 1-1 in three June starts despite posting a 2.70 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Hamels is 3-0 with a 3.07 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 41 innings in his last six outings versus New York (28-41). He walked a career high-tying six but allowed one run and two hits over six innings in a 5-1 victory at Citi Field on April 28. Lucas Duda is 1 for 12 against Hamels and John Buck is 2 for 25. Those two hits, though, were homers.
Hamels hasn't been alone in baffling the Mets, who have hit .208 in dropping nine of 10 versus Philadelphia (35-38), including the last five by a 33-11 margin.
The Phillies are looking to regroup after their season-high six-game home winning streak was snapped Wednesday in a 6-2, 11-inning loss to Washington. Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three chances before Michael Stutes surrendered a grand slam in the 11th.
"This is a game of fundamentals. We got to do fundamentals right," said Papelbon, who wasn't pleased with his team's defensive positioning. "It's a simple game. Every little thing that goes into every pre-pitch, we got to do better."
The Mets just took three of five at NL East-leading Atlanta, winning 4-3 in Thursday's finale. David Wright went 3 for 4 with a pair of solo homers and Andrew Brown also went deep.
"It's a good feeling to come in here and take this series against this team, because they're obviously one of the elite," said Wright, hitting .407 with four homers during a 14-game stretch.
Wright is 18 for 54 (.333) with four homers against Hamels.
New York counters with Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96), who allowed three runs - one earned - and six hits in five innings in Sunday's 4-3 walkoff win over the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander has been knocked around in his last two starts versus Philadelphia. After yielding a career-worst seven runs and failing to record an out before being removed in a 16-1 defeat Sept. 20, Hefner surrendered a season-high five earned runs in three innings in a 7-3 road loss April 10 - his shortest start of the year.
Domonic Brown is 2 for 2 with a homer versus Hefner, and Jimmy Rollins is 3 for 7 with two doubles.
Philadelphia activated second baseman Chase Utley from the disabled list prior to this game. Utley, batting .272 with seven homers and 25 RBIs, had been sidelined since May 23 because of an oblique strain.