Marlins-Phillies Preview

Cole Hamels’ only loss of the season came at home against the

Miami Marlins. It was also in his first start of 2012.

Hamels gets a chance to avenge that defeat and become the

majors’ first nine-game winner Saturday when the Philadelphia

Phillies host the Marlins.

Hamels (8-1, 2.43 ERA) began his season with a 6-2 loss to Miami

(29-23) on April 9, allowing four runs – three earned – and eight

hits with nine strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.

He hasn’t lost since.

The left-hander is 8-0 in his last nine starts, compiling a 2.22

ERA while limiting opponents to a .210 average. He’s tied for the

most wins in baseball with St. Louis’ Lance Lynn, also scheduled to

start Saturday afternoon.

Hamels won his fifth consecutive start Monday, allowing four

runs in eight innings of an 8-4 victory at New York. That

performance came a day after teammate and two-time Cy Young winner

Roy Halladay was lost for six to eight weeks because of a strained

right shoulder.

“I’m just trying to keep the same approach that I have,” Hamels

told the team’s official website. “I try to go out and win as many

games as I can. I’m trying to go deep into the ballgame and,

obviously, not allow as many runs.”

Hamels has reached at least the seventh inning in seven of his

last nine trips to the mound, completing eight in the last two.

Another strong outing could help Philadelphia (28-25) win for

the eighth time in 10 games. The Phillies continued their surge

with a 6-4 victory Friday in the opener of this three-game


Hunter Pence had three hits and three runs in the win, including

his team-leading 12th homer. He’s batting .379 with two homers,

four RBIs and nine runs over the last seven games.

Pence is 9 for 16 in four games this season against Miami,

helping Philadelphia win the last three matchups.

The Marlins, who had a three-game win streak snapped, will give

the ball to Ricky Nolasco (5-3, 4.26) hoping he can continue his

success in Philadelphia.

The right-hander is 5-1 with a 2.61 ERA in six starts there,

winning four in a row while holding the Phillies to .190 at the

plate. However, he hasn’t made an appearance at Citizens Bank Park

since April 17, 2010, when he tossed a five-hitter in a 5-1


Nolasco hasn’t come close to being that sharp while losing three

of his last four starts with a 7.06 ERA. He allowed three runs over

seven innings in a 3-2 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.

He’s also served up three homers on four hits by Pence, but that

damage has come in 21 at-bats.

Miami’s Jose Reyes has the longest active hitting streak in the

majors at 12 games after going 3 for 4 with a double Friday. He’s

batting .373 with seven runs and five steals during that


The All-Star shortstop is hitting .357 (15 for 42) against