Since a two-game losing streak, Cole Hamels has fashioned back-to-back victories. The Phillies southpaw aims to continue his recent success this afternoon in the opener of a day/night doubleheader when Philadelphia concludes its series against Tampa Bay.
Hamels tossed eight frames in a win against the Rockies Tuesday and prior to that struggled after giving up six earned runs at Minnesota, but still came out with the victory. His only start against the Rays resulted in a loss when he allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings.
Due to Friday's rainout, the Rays are hoping David Price can pitch deep into the opener. That's because the plan for Tampa Bay is to use multiple relievers in the nightcap.
Price has won three of his last four starts. The lefty is coming off a victory at Washington Tuesday and has given up one earned run or less in four of his last six starts. He is 5-1 with a 3.40 ERA over his last seven starts on the road.
This will be Price's second career regular season appearance against the Phillies.
The Rays are planning on taking advantage of a new rule in baseball where teams can have 26 players active for day-night doubleheaders. The problem for the Rays is the number is actually 25 because reliever Joel Peralta is serving a suspension for a pine tar incident during Tuesday's game against the Washington Nationals.
Because of this, Tampa Bay is expected to start Cesar Ramos in the night contest. The lefty, who will pitch just two days after his 28th birthday, will make his first start and 10th appearance of 2012. Ramos has started just twice over 87 major league appearances and hasn't done so since 2009 with San Diego.
Cliff Lee was the expected starter Friday night, but will go on extra rest for the Phillies, hoping to get win No. 1 this year. Lee has posted back-to-back no-decisions, including last Saturday's 6-5 loss at Toronto.
Lee was roughed up for five runs and a season-high 12 hits in seven innings. He has definitely given the Phillies enough innings this season (77 2/3) and has lasted at least six innings in each of his starts this season. Lee, though, has given up two or more runs in six straight outings.
The southpaw is 0-3 in five home starts and 6-5 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rays.
Jim Thome's pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Phillies to a 7-6 win yesterday afternoon.
Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) blew his first save of the season in the top of the ninth after giving up two runs. But Thome led off the bottom of the frame with a blast to left off Jake McGee (2-2) to make Papelbon the winning pitcher.
Thome became the all-time leader in the modern era (1900-present) with 13 walk-off homers.
"These are moments you never know how long you'll have them," Thome said.
Juan Pierre hit a three-run homer for the Phillies, who have won three of four since a three-game skid. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run home run and Carlos Ruiz had an RBI.
Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits over four innings.
Jeff Keppinger, who was activated from the disabled list on Friday, went 5- for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. James Shields, Sean Rodriguez and Brooks Conrad each knocked in a run, but the Rays lost for the seventh time in 10 games.
Shields allowed five runs on seven hits in a five-inning start. He struck out seven and walked one.
"We've been giving it up a little bit, and we have not gotten it on our side," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And that will come back to us."
The Phillies lost two of three meetings with Tampa Bay back in 2009, one year after beating the Rays in the World Series.