The left-hander looks to build on his best performance of the season Friday night when the Phillies open a three-game series against the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Philadelphia (10-5) has been hit hard with key injuries already this season, with second baseman Jimmy Rollins(notes) (calf), starter Joe Blanton(notes) (oblique) and closer Brad Lidge(notes) (knee and elbow) on the disabled list.
“We have a resilient club,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr said. “We can’t make excuses. That’s just part of the game.”
Consistency from Hamels (2-1, 3.86) could also provide a lift for Philadelphia.
Hamels is trying to regain the form that earned him MVP honors in the 2008 NL championship series and World Series, as he helped the Phillies to their second title. Last season, he was 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA in the regular season before posting a 1-2 record and 7.58 ERA in four playoff games as Philadelphia lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series.
He labored through his first two starts of 2010, but his latest outing showed flashes of his 2008 form.
Hamels allowed two runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts Sunday, but the lineup managed only four hits in a 2-0 loss to Florida.
“I really felt like I executed pitches,” Hamels told the team’s official website. “If I’m able to pitch a good game deep in the ballgame and we don’t have any runs to show, that’s baseball.”
Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three games against the Diamondbacks, with both victories coming at Arizona (6-9). He yielded one run while fanning nine in eight innings of a 4-3 win at Chase Field on July 28.
The Phillies have won six of seven against Arizona, and enter this series coming off a pair of wins at Atlanta, including Thursday’s 8-3 victory.
Arizona’s bullpen is ranked last in the majors with a 7.21 ERA.
“It’s getting pretty ridiculous to be honest, and it’s no fun to lose these games,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s hard to find new ways to describe late inning failures, where they scratch not one, not two, but multiple runs on top of us to take us out of games.”
Hinch will give the ball to Kris Benson(notes) (0-1, 3.00), who is looking to build on his first start since June. The injury-plagued right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-0 loss at San Diego on Saturday.
Benson signed a minor league deal with Arizona in March after an elbow injury reduced his 2009 season to eight games with Texas. Various injuries and rotator cuff surgery kept him out of the majors the previous two years.
He’s scheduled to get his first start against the Phillies since a win with Baltimore in 2006. Benson is 5-0 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts versus Philadelphia.