Cole Hamels is on the mound as the Phillies look to make it five wins in six games over NL West teams. The Phils walked off on Wednesday and Thursday against the Rockies and have started 4-3 under Ryne Sandberg at home. The 10-game homestand concludes this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Phillies' bullpen has been great for a week now, which helped lead to the pair of walk-off victories. Aside from Luis Garcia (who allowed five runs in 1.1 innings to the Dodgers and Rockies), the Phillies' pen has allowed one run in 16.1 innings over the last seven days, for a 0.55 ERA.
The way Hamels has been pitching, the bullpen might not make a difference. He has a 2.05 ERA over his last nine starts with a 1.00 WHIP.
D-backs starter Wade Miley (9-8, 3.56) has equaled Hamels of late, posting a 2.10 ERA and .225 opponents' batting average over his last 10 starts. The only time the Phillies faced him, he pitched six shutout innings with seven strikeouts.
Hamels must be careful with Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who is hitting an even .300 with an NL-leading 31 homers and 100 RBI. He also ranks second in the NL in slugging percentage and OPS, third in walks and fourth in runs.
Goldschmidt and Darin Ruf are tied for second in the National League with seven home runs in August.
Sandberg's different lineups have been working. He's moved Carlos Ruiz from eighth to second to fifth, and Chooch has responded. He leads all NL catchers this month with a .364 batting average and .942 OPS. Second on that list is Wilin Rosario, who the Phillies are glad they won't have to see again until 2014.
Jimmy Rollins and Cody Asche are off tonight.
1) Michael Young, 3B
2) Kevin Frandsen, 1B (.408 OBP vs. lefties as a Phillie
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Domonic Brown, LF
5) Carlos Ruiz, C (10-for-16 last five games)
6) Darin Ruf, RF
7) John Mayberry, CF
8) John McDonald, SS
9) Cole Hamels, P