Fresh off his five-game suspension for beaning Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies left-hander and current staff ace Cole Hamels gets back to work this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres.
Hamels set the tone early in last Sunday's 9-3 win at Washington by hitting Harper in the back. Hamels admitted to throwing at the young prospect and was slapped with a five-game suspension. The penalty didn't alter Philadelphia's rotation that much and Hamels will make his seventh start of the season. He held the Nationals to a run on five hits in eight innings, struck out eight and walked only one batter, improving to 4-1 with a 2.45 earned run average.
The 2008 World Series MVP, who lost his season debut versus Miami, is unbeaten in his last five starts (4-0) and defeated the Padres on the road during a 4-1 triumph on April 20. Hamels tossed six innings of one-run ball and is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 12 career starts against San Diego. Hamels is 1-1 in two trips to the Citizens Bank Park mound in 2012.
While the Phillies have prevailed in each of Hamels' last five starts, they have accomplished the complete opposite when Roy Halladay toes the rubber. Halladay fell to 0-3 in his past five outings with Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Padres, as he was reached for both runs and seven hits in seven innings of work while fanning a season-high 10 batters. Run support has been an issue with Halladay on the mound lately and the Phillies have scored two or fewer runs four of the last five times Halladay takes the hill.
"My job is to keep the game close and give us a chance," said Halladay in regards to his winless stretch. "You don't have a lot of control over wins and losses. Your control is over making pitches."
Freddy Galvis had an RBI double and Shane Victorino posted three of his team's eight hits for Philadelphia, which won the opener of this three-game series on Friday after being swept by the Mets earlier in the week. The Phillies have lost seven of 10 games and sit in the basement of the NL East Division, The five-time defending division champions are 6 1/2 games off the pace.
Philadelphia is 1-4 on an eight-game homestand and will also welcome the Houston Astros to Citizens Bank Park for two games. Phils third baseman Placido Polanco needs just one more hit to become the 17th active player with 2,000 hits.
San Diego is aiming to win back-to-back series this afternoon and gave manager Bud Black his 400th career win as manager on Saturday.
Will Venable's RBI double tied the game in the third inning and Jesus Guzman lifted a sacrifice fly in the seventh to score Cameron Maybin for the decisive run. Venable and John Baker both finished with two hits for the Padres, who have won three of five since a three-game sweep at the hands of Miami.
"When you come in here, you know you're going to get good pitching," Black said. "When you eke out a win against him [Halladay] in this park ... I think that says a lot about us."
Edinson Volquez earned his second win in a Padres uniform after he fired six innings of one-run ball and struck out five. Luke Gregerson, Andrew Cashner and Dale Thayer combined to throw three scoreless innings of relief with Thayer tallying his third save.
The Padres will visit Washington for two games on their five-game trek.
Jeff Suppan has won his first two starts in his new digs and the Padres hope that continues Sunday against the Phillies. Suppan made his San Diego debut on May 2 with five shutout innings in a 5-0 win over Milwaukee, then tossed five more innings of one-run ball in a 3-1 triumph over Colorado.
Suppan, a right-hander filling in for injured Cory Luebke, will make his initial road start of the season and has faced Philadelphia 14 times in his career, 13 of which have been starts, and owns a 3-7 mark to go along with a 6.62 earned run average.
The Padres and Phillies split a four-game set from April 19-22 this season out west, but Philadelphia has won 13 of the past 17 meetings in the series.