Hamels hopes to avoid 12th loss in San Diego
(Sports Network) - Many thought that Cole Hamels would challenge for a Cy Young Award this season. Few thought he would lead the majors in losses at this point in the season.
Hamels hopes to avoid a career-high 12th setback of the season on Wednesday night when the Philadelphia Phillies wrap a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.
The 2008 World Series MVP, Hamels set a career best with 17 wins a season ago while posting a solid 3.05 earned run average. However, he is just 2-11 through 16 starts this year with a 4.50 ERA, with the Phillies 2-14 in games he starts. Philadelphia has plated three runs or fewer in 10 of those contests.
The left-hander, who lost 11 games both in 2009 and 2010, dropped a second straight start on Friday, failing to hold an early 3-0 lead against the New York Mets. Hamels ended up getting touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks in the 4-3 decision.
"Today was game that I feel like we could have seized. It was a good opportunity and I wasn't able to take care of what I needed to take care of on the field," Hamels said.
The 29-year-old became the first Phillies pitcher to lose 11 games before the end of June since Claude Passeau and Wayne LaMaster in 1937.
If anything can get Hamels on track, it could be a return to his hometown of San Diego. He is 8-2 lifetime versus the Padres with a 2.15 ERA in 13 meetings, including a 4-1 mark and 1.27 ERA in six starts at Petco Park.
Facing off against Hamels will be 22-year-old Robbie Erlin, who the Padres are set to recall to make tonight's start. San Diego is in need of a replacement for the injured Clayton Richard, who exited his outing last Friday after just two pitches due to a left shoulder strain that landed him on the disabled list.
Erlin, acquired from the Texas Rangers back on July 31, 2011, will make his fourth career MLB appearance and second start. He made two relief appearances versus the Chicago Cubs on April 30 and May 1 to debut, then started against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 1.
The left-hander walked away with a win on that day, holding the Blue Jays to a pair of runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings. He has yielded four runs and 11 hits in 8 2/3 innings this season, striking out five without a walk.
In 12 starts this year with Triple-A Tucson, Erlin is 6-2 despite a 5.25 ERA.
After blowing a late three-run lead in Monday's series-opening loss, the Phillies bounced back last night with a 6-2 win. Kyle Kendrick hurled eight innings of two-run ball, while Domonic Brown matched a career high with four RBI.
The bulk of Brown's production came on a go-ahead three-run homer in the third inning. It was his first longball since June 8 and 20th of the season, second- most in the NL.
"We came in today and the guys jumped on (San Diego starter Jason Marquis) early and got some runs. That was nice. We've just got to take it one game at a time. That's all we can do," said Kendrick.
Philadelphia won for just the sixth time in its past 17 games, but improved to 25-7 all-time at Petco Park, which opened in 2004.
The Phillies have won 15 of their past 20 versus the Padres overall.
Marquis (9-3) was dealt his first loss since April 22. The right-hander, who had been 8-0 over his previous 11 starts, gave up six hits and as many runs with five walks over 4 1/3 innings.
"The Philly hitters showed a lot of patience tonight," Padres manager Bud Black said. "(Marquis') pitched so well for us and has been one of the better pitchers in the National League, but tonight he was off the mark."
San Diego has lost three of its past four and is trying to secure its first home series win over Philadelphia since taking two of three from July 17-19, 2006. The clubs split a four-game set at Petco Park last season.
06/26 10:51:26 ET