(Sports Network) - After gaining just two victories over his first 16 starts,
Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has found a groove and other
teams have been hard-pressed to solve the three-time All-Star.
Hamels tries to win his third consecutive decision when the Phillies continue
a three-game series against the New York Mets at Citi Field Saturday
Over his last three starts, Hamels has given up a total of four earned runs,
covering 23 innings. His last defeat came June 21 to the Mets at Citizens Bank
The Mets have certainly been tough on Hamels as evidenced by his 6-11 mark in
23 career starts against the NL East rival. That includes a 4.28 ERA.
Rookie right-hander Zack Wheeler, who has won his last two starts, counters
for the Mets. He allowed only three hits and a run over seven innings at San
Francisco on July 10.
This will mark the second career start at Citi Field for Wheeler, who suffered
his only career loss in the Mets' 13-2 defeat against the Nationals on June 30
The Phillies are over .500 for the first time in more than a month and have
climbed into second place in the NL East, a half-game ahead of Washington, but
6 1/2 behind first-place Atlanta. A win today would give the Phillies their
fifth straight series triumph.
Domonic Brown went 3-for-5 with a home run and was one of five Phillies with
multiple hits in Friday's 13-8 thumping of Jeremy Hefner and the Mets.
The Phillies wasted no time in hanging 11 runs on the board in the first three
frames. Michael Young stroked a three-run homer, John Mayberry knocked in two
runs and Delmon Young ended with three hits and an RBI in the outburst.
Hefner (4-7) took the brunt of it, charged with eight of the runs on 10 hits
in two-plus innings of work. New York ended with five unanswered runs, capped
on David Wright's two-run homer, but the deficit was too great to overcome.
"It was execution," Hefner said. "A couple of not hard hit balls dropped in.
Previously, especially in the last two months, those balls were getting
The Met starter was undefeated in his previous six outings coming in, but his
struggles against the Phillies continued. He owns a 13.75 ERA in six career
games against the club, and Philadelphia has won seven straight in Queens.
Kyle Kendrick (9-6) served up a three-run homer to Marlon Byrd and was charged
with six runs in 5 2/3 innings, but was good enough to get a win behind an
offense that generated 15 hits.
Chase Utley added a two-run homer late and had three RBI for the Phillies
(49-48), winners in nine of their last 12 and above .500 for the first time
since June 6.
"We just have to keep it rolling. Guys are playing good right now," Kendrick
The Phillies are 7-3 versus the Mets this season, sweeping a three-game set in
New York from April 26-28.
The Sports Network