When Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt are the first three starters in a rotation, it’s easy to overlook Cole Hamels. This is especially so considering Hamels went 12-11 last year and 10-11 in 2009.
But Hamels is one of the best left-handers in baseball. His won-lost records the past two seasons with Philadelphia are highly misleading.
Hamels puts his 2-1 record and 2.92 ERA on the line Wednesday afternoon at 12:40 (PT) at Chase Field when Philadelphia meets Arizona in the finale of a three-game series.
The 27-year-old Hamels had 11 starts when he gave up two runs or less last year yet did not get a victory. He has been especially sharp in his last three starts.
During this span, Hamels has allowed only two earned runs in 22 innings on 15 hits with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 23-to-six. That’s more strikeouts than hits and walks combined. Hamels also has an impressive 27-to-three groundball-to-fly ball ratio during his past three starts.
Hamels tossed eight shutout innings giving up four hits and three walks en route to a 2-0 victory against San Diego this past Friday as a 130 road favorite versus Clayton Richard. Hamels threw a season-high 126 pitches with 82 going for strikes. The combined two runs went ‘under’ the 6 ½-run total.
The Diamondbacks defeated lefty Cliff Lee, 4-0, on Monday but are 3-7 the past 10 times they’ve faced a southpaw.
Joe Saunders will oppose Hamels. He was good in his last start, but has not pitched well since joining Arizona from the Los Angeles Angels last season.
Saunders has only three wins in 17 starts with the Diamondbacks. The 29-year-old southpaw is 0-2 with a 4.98 ERA this season and a 1.75 WHIP.
Saunders faced the New York Mets this past Friday and came away with a no-decision after giving up only two hits through six innings before departing following a walk to lead off the seventh inning. He was a 115 road underdog against Mike Pelfrey. The Mets won, 4-1. The combined five runs went ‘under’ the 8 ½-run total.
Before pitching against the Mets, Saunders had a 6.32 ERA that could have been even higher. He had faced San Francisco in his previous outing before taking on the Mets and allowed 14 of the 28 Giants he faced to reach base with 12 coming on hits.
Yet he only was charged with five runs in 6 2/3 innings because of double plays and bad San Francisco base-running. Saunders lost, 5-3, as a ‘pick’ at home against Barry Zito.
Saunders has allowed a combined 38 hits and walks compared to 10 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings. Last year, He was 13-13 with a 4.25 ERA when pitching for the Diamondbacks following his trade from the Angels. So Saunders' career arch is not exactly pointing upward.
He is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 lifetime innings versus the Phillies.
Philadelphia had won five in a row before getting shut out by Ian Kennedy in the series opener. The Phillies, however, haven’t scored more than four runs a game during their past 14 games through this past Monday.
The ‘under’ has cashed in the Phillies’ last six matchups going into Game 2 of the series. The ‘under’ is 15-5 the past 20 times the Diamondbacks have gone against a left-hander.
Victor Carapazza is slated to be the home plate umpire. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in games Carapazza has been behind the plate this season.
The forecast is for temperatures in the high 80s with a seven mph wind blowing in and zero percent chance of rain.
The Phillies are 10-4 against the Diamondbacks through this past Monday, although 3-4 during their last seven in Arizona.
Following this game, the Phillies head to Philadelphia for a nine-game homestand starting Friday against the New York Mets. The Diamondbacks host the Chicago Cubs for four games beginning Thursday.