It has been considerably longer since they last swept a four-game series in Cincinnati.
The Phillies look to sweep a four-game set in the Queen City for the first time in nearly a century and win their 13th in a row with Worley on the mound in Thursday’s finale.
Worley (9-1, 2.65 ERA) is among the biggest surprises in baseball, and has had just as much to do with Philadelphia (86-46) being 40 games over .500 as All-Stars Cole Hamels(notes), Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes).
In Monday’s 3-2 series-opening win, Hamels allowed one run and two hits over six innings. Halladay gave up two hits in seven innings in Tuesday’s 9-0 victory and Lee came within one out of throwing his sixth shutout of the season before departing with the bases loaded in Wednesday’s 3-0 win.
“I know we’ve got good pitching and any day we’re capable of going out and shutting down another offense,” Lee said.
The Phillies have won five straight over the Reds and 13 of 14 in the series, which includes last season’s sweep in the NL division series. The Phillies swept a four-game series from the Reds at Citizens Bank Park in July 2010, and are seeking their first four-game sweep in Cincinnati since May 13-16, 1916.
Philadelphia’s only loss to the Reds in the last 14 meetings, however, came with Worley on the mound.
At home against Cincinnati on May 24, Worley gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in five innings of a 6-3 loss, but didn’t receive a decision. The rookie right-hander lost to the New York Mets in his next start on May 29, but the Phillies have won all 12 of his outings since.
This is the longest streak for Philadelphia since winning 15 straight starts for Steve Carlton in 1972, and no team has won 13 consecutive starts by a rookie since the 1970 Reds won 14 in a row by Wayne Simpson.
Worley was outstanding in a 9-4 win over the Mets on Aug. 23, allowing a run and five hits while striking out a career-high nine in seven innings.
With the Phillies getting a two-day break over the weekend because of Hurricane Irene, Worley will be taking the ball on eight days’ rest, and that could work toward his advantage. He is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts this season when pitching on at least six days’ rest.
Worley will be facing a Cincinnati team that is batting .172 with three extra-base hits in this series after scoring 18 runs while hitting .281 in winning its previous four games.
Philadelphia’s Hunter Pence(notes) continued his surge at the plate Wednesday, hitting his second home run in as many days. He is batting .393 with three homers during a seven-game hitting streak, and is 5 for 15 with a home run and double lifetime against scheduled starter Mike Leake(notes) (11-8, 4.04).
Leake gave up two runs and six hits in six innings of a 6-3 home win over Washington on Saturday. The right-hander has yielded two runs in each of his last four starts at Great American Ball Park.
Leake, Cincinnati’s leader in wins, is set to face the Phillies for the first time this season after recording a 6.91 ERA without a decision in two starts against them as a rookie last year.
“He’s been pitching like a veteran since he got here,” Dusty Baker told the Reds’ official website. “He’s improved some since last year.”