After two ugly starts to begin the season, Cole Hamels righted the ship with a solid outing against the Marlins on April 13. The Phillies left-hander has kept it going ever since and now will face Miami again on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Hamels is matched up with rookie Jose Fernandez as the Phillies try to win their third straight against the Marlins. Miami has lost three consecutive games since putting together its first winning streak of the year.
Hamels owned a 10.97 ERA before holding the Marlins to one run over six innings in a start at Marlins Park. He has a 2.33 ERA in his past four starts, with 27 strikeouts in 27 innings.
On Sunday against the Mets, Hamels finally notched his first victory of the season. He tied a career high with six walks, but struck out eight and gave up one run on two hits in six innings.
"It wasn't any particular pitch," said Hamels. "I was able to throw them all for both strikes and for balls.
"I wasn't able to get ahead of hitters, so I just tried to plug away, not let the game get out of hand. You would rather give up hits than walk everybody and much rather go deeper into the ballgame. But sometimes you have to shake your head and move on."
Fernandez is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA, as the Marlins have been conservative with the 20-year-old's workload. He has thrown between 79 and 85 pitches in each of his five starts, logging more than five innings only once, and the club will limit him to 150-170 innings for the season.
However, Fernandez's pitch counts could be bumped up soon.
"I'm happy. I'm getting a lot of work in, a lot of experience," the rookie said. "I'd take that over throwing 150 pitches [in a game]. I'm learning so much that the only place I think I could learn this much is here. I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm going to keep working hard and hope to have a chance to help my team win every time out."
Since tossing six scoreless innings against the Phillies in that April 13 meeting with Hamels, Fernandez has a 7.62 ERA over his past three starts, surrendering 15 hits and eight walks in 13 innings. But he's soaking up a lot of knowledge along the way.
"Adjustments. You've got to make a lot of adjustments between starts," Fernandez said. "They look at the videos. Little things, like coming to the field every day and getting your work in and getting everything done the right way. I'm learning, watching the games out there. Watching guys' swings. Things I didn't look at in the Minor Leagues because I didn't care. Here, I am watching. I see what they're doing. I see what they're doing in the on-deck circle. Little things. I think those things will help in the long run."
Marlins: Lineup likely to change for lefty
• With Hamels on the mound, Marlins manager Mike Redmond could get a couple of extra right-handed bats in the lineup. One of those probably will be catcher Miguel Olivo.
Another could be outfielder Matt Diaz, who hasn't started since coming up from Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday. Diaz made his Marlins debut in Friday's seventh inning and struck out with the bases loaded as a pinch-hitter before staying in to play left field.
• Rookie right fielder Marcell Ozuna has hit safely in all four games since coming up from Double-A Jacksonville. He went 2-for-4 with a double on Friday and is 6-for-15 overall.
• Left fielder Juan Pierre notched the 601st stolen base of his career on Friday.
Phillies: Brown, Howard getting it going
• Left fielder Domonic Brown and first baseman Ryan Howard both smacked home runs on Friday to continue to their recent runs of success after rough starts.
Brown, who had a huge Spring Training at the plate, was batting .206 through April 23. In nine games since, he has gone 13-for-34 (.382) with three homers, two doubles and eight RBIs.
Howard has hit safely in 13 of his past 14 games, going 17-for-50 (.340) with four homers, five doubles and 13 RBIs.
• Catcher Carlos Ruiz picked up his second hit in four games and is batting .133 with five strikeouts since joining the team.
• Fernandez struck out 13 batters in his first two starts and 10 in his past three.
• Diaz has the most experience against Hamels of any Marlins player, going 11-for-41 (.268) with one home run and six strikeouts.