Reds-Phillies Preview

Amid swirling trade rumors, Cole Hamels isn’t expected to finish his 10th season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

A start against the Cincinnati Reds figures to only increase the asking price.

Hamels looks to continue his dominance of the Reds as the Phillies go for back-to-back wins for the first time in over two weeks Wednesday night.

Last-place Philadelphia (20-33) is expected to be active dealing away veterans in the hopes of improving for the future, with Hamels (5-4, 2.91 ERA) the team’s most valuable trade chip.

The left-hander is 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in his last five starts, striking out 38 and walking six in 37 1-3 innings over that stretch.

"Everything that I go out and do is to be comfortable, and try to justify that everything I’m doing is the right way and that there’s not going to be anything holding me back … there’s not going to be any questions about whether I had been able to do a little bit more or be a little bit better," Hamels told MLB’s official website.

Hamels couldn’t be much better against the Reds (22-28), going 10-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 13 career starts, including one in the 2010 division series.

He was even impressive in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Colorado. The only runs Hamels allowed came on a pair of solo homers by Troy Tulowitzki, and he matched his season high with nine strikeouts in eight innings opposite Chad Bettis, who carried a no-hitter into the eighth.

"I think he rises to the occasion," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He definitely had the opportunity to win the game with some runs anywhere in the game right until the end while he was in there, but I think he rises to that challenge."

The Phillies are 3-10 since a season-high six-game winning streak. However, they ended a seven-game slide Tuesday, overcoming a three-run deficit and getting a walkoff single from pinch-hitter Darin Ruf in a 5-4 win over the Reds.

"You have to continue to fight like a team," said Maikel Franco, who had a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth. "It’s awesome for the team."

The loss was the 11th in 15 games for Cincinnati, which had a three-game win streak stopped.

Bouncing back behind Mike Leake (2-4, 4.66) won’t be easy since he’s lost three straight starts with a 12.86 ERA. The right-hander has surrendered six homers and eight walks in 14 innings during that span after yielding one run over 22 innings in his three previous outings.

He was tagged for six runs and nine hits over five innings in a 6-4 loss to Colorado last Wednesday.

"He’s off the edges of the plate a little bit early in the at-bats," manager Bryan Price said. "At this level of play, it’s finding your way. He’ll get back there. It’s frustrating certainly for him and our ballclub because it doesn’t resemble the guy that we’re used to seeing."

Leake usually struggles against the Phillies, going 1-3 with a 7.41 ERA in six starts. Ryan Howard is 6 for 15 with two homers in this matchup.

Howard, another potential player to be traded, is 2 for 24 in his last six games. He’s also 11 for 62 (.177) with one RBI in his past 17 contests against the Reds.