Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg is finally getting an opportunity to see the possibilities of what could be a formidable trio in the front of his rotation.
Following back-to-back solid pitching performances against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cole Hamels will try to lead the visiting Phillies to a season-best fourth straight win in his 2014 debut Wednesday night.
Cliff Lee went eight innings in a series-opening 7-0 win over the scuffling Dodgers (12-9) before A.J. Burnett limited them to two runs over 6 2-3 in a 3-2, 10-inning victory Tuesday.
Hamels (8-14, 3.60 ERA in 2013) looks to lead Philadelphia (10-10) to three straight wins in this four-game set after coming off the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation.
The left-hander was cleared to join the rotation after throwing seven innings of one-run ball at High-A Clearwater on Thursday. He wrapped up his rehab assignment with a 2.12 ERA over 17 innings in three starts.
"The potential and possibilities in the rotation, once we did sign Burnett in the spring, we’ll see it when Hamels is in there," Sandberg told the team’s official website. "We’ll see the rotation in complete strength. I’ve been waiting for that day."
Sandberg said the veteran hurler will have no restrictions in his first major league start since Sept. 25. Hamels hopes to pick up where he left off last season, when he went 6-3 with a 2.68 ERA over his final 16 starts.
The three-time All-Star helped snap the Dodgers’ 10-game winning streak Aug. 18 by allowing two runs over seven innings while not receiving a decision in a 3-2 home victory.
Hamels has gone 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in four starts at Dodger Stadium, including two in the postseason. He’ll face a Los Angeles team that has totaled 21 runs while batting .203 in its last eight games.
Adrian Gonzalez went 0 for 3 on Tuesday as his 16-game hitting streak ended, while Hanley Ramirez had only his second hit in 22 at-bats over his past six. Andre Ethier, who is 4 for 7 with a homer and a double off Hamels since 2011, has gone 6 for 36 (.167) in his last 11.
Los Angeles’ Zack Greinke (3-0, 2.42) won three straight starts before receiving no runs in a 4-2, 12-inning home loss to Arizona on Friday. He allowed one run and three hits while striking out eight over six innings.
Greinke, who has limited opponents to two runs or less in each of his four outings, will try to win his first four decisions for the first time since a 6-0 start in 2009 with Kansas City en route to winning the AL Cy Young Award. The right-hander has gone 10-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his last 15 starts dating to last season.
He’s 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four games – three starts – against Philadelphia.
Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and Jimmy Rollins have gone a combined 8 for 47 (.170) when facing Greinke. Ben Revere is 5 for 11 in the matchup since 2012, and Chase Utley went 3 for 6 with a homer last season.
Revere matched a career high with four hits Tuesday as Philadelphia recorded double digits for the third straight game after reaching that many four times in its first 17.