Phillies-Brewers Preview


The remarkable run for rookie Mike Fiers finally came to a screeching halt in his most recent start for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Cole Hamels is hoping his string of scoreless innings has no end in sight.

Coming off back-to-back shutouts, the Philadelphia Phillies left-hander seeks to extend his streak of 22 innings since last allowing a run Saturday night in Milwaukee.

Hamels (13-6, 2.91 ERA) was already having a strong season before his recent gems, but those efforts may have vaulted him into the conversation for his first NL Cy Young Award.

In blanking Atlanta and Miami, Hamels yielded 12 hits - 11 singles - while striking out 11 and walking one. He didn't allow a run in the final four innings of his previous start at Washington, meaning he's three innings from matching his career-best streak of 25 straight scoreless innings, established Aug. 24-Sept. 8, 2010.

"Are you expecting complete-game shutouts the entire time? No," teammate Kevin Frandsen said. "But watching Cole for all of these years and playing against him, he's capable of doing that every time."

The Brewers haven't faced Hamels this year, but they know what he can do. He has posted a 1.59 ERA in winning his last three starts versus Milwaukee, pitching a four-hitter in a 7-2 victory at Miller Park in the most recent one Sept. 8.

Runs figure to be at a premium if Fiers (6-5, 2.63) pitches like he has for most of his impressive rookie campaign, but this game may be no contest if the right-hander throws like he did Monday.

Fiers allowed eight runs - doubling his previous season high - and nine hits in a 9-6 loss at Colorado in which he got knocked out of the game with no outs in the third inning, by far the shortest of his 13 major league starts.

"Just terrible all the way around," said Fiers, who had been 5-2 with a 1.03 ERA over his previous nine starts, allowing two runs or fewer in each of them and eight runs total over that stretch.

"That wasn't close to my other starts and I'm not happy about it," he added.

The Phillies (54-65) haven't yet faced Fiers, but they've seen plenty of Ryan Braun. The reigning NL MVP hit a two-run homer - his NL-leading 32nd - in a 6-2 win over Philadelphia on Friday after going deep twice in a 7-4 victory in the opener of this four-game set the previous night.

Braun is 10 for 19 with five homers in five games against the Phillies this year. He's 4 for 24 lifetime against Hamels including postseason, but two of those hits were homers.

The Brewers (54-64) are trying to win their ninth straight home game and even the season series at three-all. They were swept at Philadelphia with three 7-6 defeats last month, part of their current 1-14 stretch on the road.

The Phillies' bats have been much quieter lately with Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list and Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence departed via trade. They're averaging 3.0 runs in their last 20 games, and they've totaled 13 through the first five games of their road trip.