The Philadelphia Phillies’ lineup has helped them get rolling at home, but it’s been their pitching that’s shut the door on the opposition.
Hamels looks to lead the Phillies to their eighth win in nine home games Saturday night when they continue their series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hamels (5-5, 4.70 ERA) hasn’t pitched like he did on his way to capturing the NL championship series and World Series MVP awards last fall, displaying only occasional flashes of excellence.
Philadelphia (46-38) can hope Hamels’ last outing is a sign its ace is primed for a second-half turnaround. The left-hander held Cincinnati to a run and three hits over seven innings Monday and the Phillies scored 10 first-inning runs in a 22-1 rout.
“I was just jumping for joy,” Hamels told the Phillies’ official Web site after his first win since June 4. “When you put that many runs up, it makes it uncomfortable for the other team.”
Philadelphia has averaged 6.6 runs as it’s gone 7-1 thus far on a 10-game homestand, but the club’s success on the mound has been perhaps the most impressive aspect of their hot streak. The Phillies’ pitching staff has a 2.25 ERA after limiting Pittsburgh (38-48) to six hits Friday in a 3-2 victory.
“It does feel good,” said starter Joe Blanton(notes), who allowed four hits including a solo homer to Garrett Jones(notes) in 7 1-3 innings. “A couple more (wins) to close it out and take the momentum into the second half.”
The Phillies should feel pretty good about their chances with Hamels pitching at home, where he has a 3.52 ERA and .259 opponents’ batting average in nine outings. In seven starts on the road, he has a 6.34 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit .352.
Hamels surrendered three runs over five innings - striking out seven - in an 8-3 win on July 9, 2006 in his only career start against the Pirates. First baseman Adam LaRoche(notes) has two homers in three career at-bats versus Hamels, both coming while with Atlanta.
The Pirates did get one of their power sources back, however. Catcher Ryan Doumit(notes), who hadn’t played since April 19 because of a fractured wrist, returned from the disabled list and went 0 for 4.
Doumit, who hit a career-high 15 homers in 116 games last year, is batting .214 (9 for 42) with no RBIs in 14 career games against the Phillies.
The right-hander didn’t go deep into his last start, allowing five runs and nine hits over five innings Sunday in a 5-0 loss at Florida.
“He’s going to have outings like today where nothing really works for him,” manager John Russell told the Pirates’ official Web site. “His stuff just wasn’t there that normally is. He’s had a couple of these this year and has always been able to bounce back the next time.”
Ohlendorf has never faced the Phillies.
In addition to Philadelphia’s 20-homer club of Ryan Howard(notes), Chase Utley(notes) and Jayson Werth(notes), Ohlendorf may have to worry about Raul Ibanez(notes). The All-Star outfielder, who has a team-high 22 homers, came off the disabled list Friday and was available to pinch hit, though manager Charlie Manuel expects him to start Saturday.