Philadelphia (88-46) at Miami (60-77)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL, US
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 3, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies have climbed 42 games above .500 for the first time in their 129 years of existence, but they’re not ready to revel in that achievement.

Instead, the Phillies are focused on another goal and Cole Hamels(notes) will try to get his team a step closer with a strong start against the struggling Florida Marlins on Saturday night.

The Phillies tied their team record, set in 1976, by moving 41 games above .500 during a four-game sweep in Cincinnati to kick off their road trip. They broke that mark with a 5-3 victory over Florida on Friday night.

John Mayberry(notes) homered and drove in three during his team’s 23rd win in 30 games.

“It’s an incredible feat,” Mayberry told the team’s official website. “Our ultimate goal is to win the World Series. That’s kind of our measuring stick. It’s not how you finish the regular season, but what you do in the postseason.”

With help from Hamels, Philadelphia (88-46) will try to build on its record and an 8 1/2-game lead in the NL East.

In his return from the disabled list Monday, Hamels allowed one run and two hits over six innings in Cincinnati while striking out seven. After dealing with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, Hamels, however, did not get a decision in a 3-2 victory.

“He looked very sharp, very good,” outfielder Shane Victorino(notes) said. “If you’d told me he was on the DL for 15 days, I’d have said, ‘No way.’ I hope to keep that Cole the rest of the way.”

Judging by his recent matchups, he might get a better result against the Marlins (60-77), losers in 22 of 27 overall and 16 of 20 at home. Hamels (13-7, 2.58 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA in his last five starts against Florida and 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in his three this season.

He allowed two runs over eight innings during his second straight win at Sun Life Stadium on July 5, a 14-2 rout. The left-hander might be facing the Marlins at the right time as his 2.71 ERA in September is his best in any month over his career.

The Phillies, though, have provided Hamels with a combined nine runs of support in his last seven starts, and he has two wins during that stretch.

That trend might change for the left-hander as his teammates will get to face Ricky Nolasco(notes) (9-10, 4.34), who is 0-2 with a 10.47 ERA in his last three starts.

Much of that lofty ERA stemmed from a career-worst 11 runs allowed in three innings at Colorado on Aug. 17. Nolasco has given up four runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings in each of his last two starts, including a 5-1 loss to the Mets on Monday.

“I just feel like every time I go out, half of the hits I’ve given up are the same old story - they’re finding the holes,” he told the team’s official website. “It’s tough, but what are you going to do? You have to continue to make pitches. You try to keep your team in the game as long as you can.”

Nolasco might have a chance to turn his fortunes around in this game as he’s 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA in his last four starts against the Phillies. He gave up one run over seven innings during a home matchup July 4 in a 1-0 loss.

Philadelphia is seeking its 20th win in 25 games against the Marlins and 23rd in its last 28 in Florida.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Hamels TEX vs. R. Nolasco MIN
14-9 Record 10-12
2.79 ERA 4.67
194 K 148
44 BB 44
0.99 WHIP 1.40


Saturday, Sep 3