Philadelphia (59-49) at St. Louis (61-50)

Rain Currently: St. Louis, MO, US
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Fri Aug 1, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals were quiet on Thursday afternoon, letting baseball’s non-waiver trading deadline pass without making a blockbuster move.

They’re hoping they won’t need any help.

The NL East-leading Phillies will try for their season-high sixth straight win on Friday when they open a three-game set at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals, who come in tied for the wild-card lead.

Philadelphia (59-49) has won five in a row to take a one-game lead over the New York Mets and 1 1/2-game advantage over the Florida Marlins in the East.

Aside from a left-handed reliever, former Boston slugger Manny Ramirez was one of the big offensive names linked to the Phillies in a possible deadline deal, but general manager Pat Gillick decided to stand pat on Thursday.

“We were talking, and we were involved,” Gillick told the Phillies’ official Web site of the team’s interest in Ramirez, who ended up going to the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We just couldn’t get where they wanted to be, and we couldn’t get where we wanted to be.”

Philadelphia’s lineup hasn’t looked like its needed another bat lately, however. The Phillies have scored 40 runs during their winning streak, which reached five on Thursday with an 8-4 victory at Washington.

“The way we went out there playing is very good,” said shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who hit a two-run homer. “We’re getting hits with two outs, runners in scoring position and we’re getting good quality starts. We’re back to the way we need to be playing.”

Rollins and Shane Victorino are usually getting on base, but recently they’ve been driving in runs. Rollins is batting .364 (8-for-22) with two homers and five RBIs in his last five games, while Victorino is hitting .455 (10-for-22) with two homers and seven RBIs in the same span.

The Phillies don’t usually need to score much when Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.27 ERA) is on the mound, but Hamels’ last start was his shortest of the season. The left-hander went 3 2-3 innings, giving up nine runs - four earned - on Saturday against Atlanta, though Philadelphia came back to win 10-9.

Hamels has gone at least seven innings in 18 of his other 21 starts, including a seven-inning performance against St. Louis (61-50) on July 8 when he gave up two runs while striking out eight in a 2-0 loss.

Like the Phillies, St. Louis didn’t make a deadline deal, but got former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter back from injury this week, and expects to get No. 1 starter Adam Wainwright back from the disabled list in August.

St. Louis, tied with Milwaukee for the wild-card lead, will send its top healthy starter to the hill on Friday, though Kyle Lohse didn’t look the part on Sunday. Lohse (12-3, 3.68) had won nine straight decisions before allowing seven runs and 11 hits over five innings in a 9-1 road loss to the Mets.

“Obviously, when you don’t have your best stuff and you’re facing guys who have seen you several times … it’s safe to say that’s probably not a good sign,” Lohse told the team’s official Web site.

Lohse was outstanding in his lone start against the Phillies, giving up two runs and four hits over eight innings on June 14 in a 3-2 win.

St. Louis won three straight in Atlanta after Lohse’s rough outing against New York, scoring 27 runs, but lost 9-4 to the Braves on Thursday night. It was the fifth straight start center fielder Rick Ankiel missed with an abdominal strain, though he hasn’t ruled out a return against Philadelphia.

“You never know,” said Ankiel, who’s hitting .282 with 22 homers and 59 RBIs. “I might wake up feeling good.”

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Starting Pitchers

C. Hamels TEX vs. K. Lohse TEX
14-10 Record 15-6
3.09 ERA 3.78
196 K 119
53 BB 49
1.08 WHIP 1.30