The Philadelphia Phillies are enjoying their best start in 16 years, and much of the thanks goes to the pitching staff.
Another meeting with the Washington Nationals gives the Phillies a good chance to become the first team in the NL to 20 wins.
The Phillies look to continue their dominance of the visiting Nationals in the middle game of this series Wednesday night.
Philadelphia (19-9) owns the best record in the league, as its staff ranks among the best in baseball with a 3.00 ERA. A rotation populated by four aces in Roy Halladay(notes), Cliff Lee(notes), Roy Oswalt(notes) and Cole Hamels(notes) has the Phillies off to their best start since going 21-8 to start 1995.
Hamels kept the four-time reigning NL East champions rolling Tuesday, leading them to a ninth win in 12 games by tossing a five-hitter in a 4-1 win over the Nationals (14-15).
Their staff has a 2.15 ERA in the last 12 games, helping make up for the offense’s .238 average - .208 with runners in scoring position - in that span.
The Phillies, winners of 11 of their last 14 meetings with Washington, have given the Nationals a strong dose of what their rotation can do, winning the last three meetings - all of them complete games behind Halladay, Lee and Hamels.
Worley proved himself capable of filling in for the veteran Friday, allowing two hits and four walks with five strikeouts in six innings of a 10-3 win over New York.
The right-hander was 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in five games - two starts - last season.
Worley got credit for a 7-6 win over the Nationals on Sept. 19, tossing a scoreless top of the ninth before Philadelphia rallied for four runs in the bottom of the inning.
The shortstop had a triple and an RBI single in his season debut in the leadoff spot Tuesday, improving to 9 for 25 over his last six games overall.
Matching that streak versus Philadelphia might be a tall task since he went 0-4 with a 9.15 ERA in five starts against the Phillies last year. He lost all three of his outings at Citizens Bank Park, surrendering 14 runs and walking seven in 9 2-3 innings.
Marquis has posted a 2.05 ERA while winning his last three starts. His most recent effort was his best of the season. He tossed a five-hitter with seven strikeouts in a 3-0 victory over San Francisco on Friday, outpitching two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum(notes).
“I’m getting more consistent as time goes on. I feel like I’m learning more about myself day-by-day and start-by-start,” Marquis said.
Washington right fielder Jayson Werth(notes) went 0 for 3 on Tuesday in his first game back in Philadelphia since signing a $126 million, seven-year deal with the Nationals. He’s 3 for 14 against his former team this year.