Cole Hamels hasn't pitched like a $100 million man lately and will take the mound tonight in the finale of a three-game road series against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
Hamels inked a six-year, $144 million deal last week, but is just 1-2 with a 3.46 earned run average in his last six starts, with the Phillies going 1-5 over that span. Hamels, though, is very resilient and aims to bounce back from a rough 6-1 loss at Atlanta last Friday in which he allowed five runs - three earned -- in five innings.
The left-hander and 2008 World Series MVP walked a career-high six batters and threw more balls (56) than strikes (53) for the first time when throwing 100 more pitches. Hamels did manage did fan seven batters, doing so in three of his previous fur outings, and is 11-5 with a 3.31 ERA in 20 overall starts.
Hamels has won both of his starts against Washington this season, spanning 16 innings with 16 Ks, and has been impressive throughout his entire career in this series. In 22 starts, Hamels owns a 12-4 record with a 2.48 ERA.
Washington will counter with Ross Detwiler, the lesser known of the club's rotation. Detwiler is coming off his first loss since May 19 versus Baltimore in last Friday's 6-0 defeat at Milwaukee, where he was reached for four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Detwiler, who won the previous time out versus Atlanta on July 22, is 5-4 with a 3.24 earned run average in 21 games, 15 of which have been starts, this season. The left-hander hasn't faced the Phillies this season and is only 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA in six career games (5 starts) against them. Detwiler may have an advantage tonight since he's 4-1 in 11 games (8 starts) at home.
The Phillies have knocked out both of Washington's starters in this series, first by deflating Stephen Strasburg in the series opener before getting to Edwin Jackson in Wednesday's 3-2 victory to set up a possible sweep for tonight. Newcomer Nate Schierholtz didn't take long to fit in and homered in his debut for the Phillies, who acquired the outfielder from San Francisco at the trade deadline in the Hunter Pence deal.
"This team has a bunch of guys that want to go out and battle and win. That's why I'm here," Schierholtz said. "This is my family now."
Jimmy Rollins homered twice and Vance Worley allowed two unearned runs over seven innings for the win. Jonathan Papelbon then posted his 23rd save in the ninth, securing Philadelphia's second straight win after a three-game sweep in Atlanta. The Phillies have won six of their last nine games, but still sit last in the NL East.
The Nationals still reside at the top of the division standings with a 2 1/2 - game lead over the Braves. They have lost three of five games, however, and didn't get much offense in Wednesday's middle portion of this series.
Adam LaRoche and Danny Espinosa each were credited with an RBI, while Bryce Harper had two hits and a run scored for Washington. Jackson was dealt the loss for allowing all three runs on homers in 5 2/3 frames.
"I got hurt on balls up in the zone," Jackson said.
Washington hopes third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (back) can return Thursday and has been out of the starting lineup for the first two contests of this series. Zimmerman tweaked his back in Sunday's game against Milwaukee.
The Nationals are still 9-4 in the last 13 meetings with the Phillies.