For an opening-day starter, Cole Hamels hasn't come close to meeting expectations.
Jose Fernandez certainly did in his big-league debut.
Hamels takes the mound opposite Fernandez as the visiting Philadelphia Phillies continue a three-game set against the woeful Miami Marlins, who again will be without Giancarlo Stanton on Saturday night.
After allowing five runs in as many innings during his first opening-day start in a 7-5 loss at Atlanta, Hamels (0-2, 10.97 ERA) surrendered a career-high eight earned runs, nine hits and four walks over 5 2-3 frames Sunday in a 9-8 loss to Kansas City.
"It's giving up runs. Not giving the team the opportunity to win," Hamels told MLB's official website when asked what has frustrated him the most.
"First and foremost, win the ballgame no matter who you're playing and who's pitching. We want to win. I wasn't able to do that for two straight games."
Opponents are batting .348 against the three-time All-Star, 110 points higher than his career mark. Hamels had never previously lost his first two starts.
"I feel good," he said. "I definitely have good feel with all of my pitches. Unfortunately, it's not showing."
The left-hander is 6-3 with a 2.43 ERA over his past 11 outings versus the Marlins, allowing one run in 16 innings to win the last two, and he won't have to face Stanton this time. The slugging right fielder will sit out again after missing Friday's series opener due to a sore left shoulder as Miami lost 3-1 in 10 innings.
Stanton, though, is batting .167 with no RBIs for Miami (1-9), off to the worst start by any team since Baltimore and Houston dropped nine of their first 10 in 2010. The Marlins' start is their worst since opening 1-11 in 1998.
"We have to keep grinding, get on the other side of this thing and get that confidence back," manager Mike Redmond said.
Miami now turns to Fernandez (0-0, 1.80), who showed off his impressive stuff Sunday in a 4-3 walkoff loss to the New York Mets. The 20-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and struck out eight over five innings of one-run ball, becoming the first starter under age 21 to fan at least eight in his MLB debut since David Clyde in 1973.
"I'm disappointed that the team didn't win. I don't really care about me," he said. "Every time I go out there, my job is to give the team a chance to win. We didn't win this time. Next time, we will."
Fernandez has zero experience pitching above Class A, but went 14-1 with a 1.75 ERA over 25 minor league starts last year.
"We talked about what he can do," Redmond said. "He's got a great fastball. For a 20-year-old kid, he's got some great secondary pitches. He showed a good changeup, curveball, slider. And he competes. I think that was obviously a huge test for him and a great first outing."
Fernandez will try to slow down the Phillies (5-5), who have won three in a row. Chase Utley came through with the go-ahead triple in the 10th inning Friday.
"We're starting to play better baseball," said Utley, batting .316 with a team-leading 10 RBIs. "Swinging the bats better. The weather is warming up. I think it's going to be a fun summer."
Philadelphia has taken three straight and eight of 10 from Miami.
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