Phillies (28-25) vs. Miami Marlins (29-23)
4:05 p.m. on CSN
Jonathan Papelbon picked up five huge outs for his first save of more than one inning as a Phillie in Fridays rain-soaked, 6-4 win over the Marlins.
The victory significantly tightened the NL East, where the last-place Phils are just 2 games behind the Nationals and 1 behind the Mets and Marlins for second place.
But the win wasnt without costs (see story). Jose Contreras became the Phillies latest DL victim, suffering an elbow injury after one pitch in a situation Charlie Manuel said looked pretty bad.
Contreras joins 10 other Phillies currently on the disabled list in Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Vance Worley, Jim Thome, Laynce Nix, David Herndon, Michael Stutes, Justin De Fratus and Michael Martinez.
Shane Victorino also missed Fridays game after getting a cortisone shot in the area of his right index finger. Victorino could be ready for Saturdays game and said he only feels the injury when batting lefthanded, the side from which he is a .224 hitter this season (compared to .340 from the right side).
Cole Hamels (8-1, 2.43 ERA) gives the Phillies a great chance to make it eight wins in their last 10 games. Hell take on Marlins righthander Ricky Nolasco, who is 5-3 with a 4.26 ERA.
Hamels has been brilliant in 2012. If the season ended today hed be a prime Cy Young candidate. Hamels leads the NL in wins, is second in strikeouts and second (to Cliff Lee) in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Hamels has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts and hasnt lost since the Phillies home opener against the Marlins. In that game, Hamels allowed Miami four runs (three earned) on eight hits over 5 13 innings.
Since then, Hamels is 8-0 with a 2.22 ERA.
Nolasco has been his typical self in 2012 solid peripheral numbers but middling results. Th 29-year-old righty has five quality starts in 10 tries and has lost three of his last four times out.
For one reason or another, Nolasco has only eclipsed 100 pitches three times this season. For comparisons sake, Hamels has done it eight times.
Current Phillies are hitting just .232 off Nolasco, but they have 11 home runs, including three from Hunter Pence and two from Jimmy Rollins.
Nolasco allowed four runs in six innings to the Phils last September, but absolutely dominated them in his four prior starts to the tune of a 1.53 ERA in 29 13 innings.
Note of interest
The Phillies are 21-7 against the Marlins in their last 28 meetings and a win Saturday would make them 9-1-1 against Miami in the last 11 series.
Nolasco vs. Pence has been a feast-or-famine matchup. Pence only has four hits in 21 at-bats, but three are bombs.
Giving Victorino another day off might make sense. He is 4 for 29 (.138) with one walk and six strikeouts against Nolasco.
Hamels will face nemesis Jose Reyes, who, unluckily for the Phillies, is really starting to get going. Reyes is hitting .372 over a 12-game hitting streak and is 15 for 42 (.357) lifetime off Hamels.
Hamels has confused Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton and the Phils will need that to continue for him to win his ninth game of the season. Ramirez and Stanton have struck out in exactly one-third (24) of their at-bats (72).
Ramirez has never homered off Hamels, but 10 of his 14 hits are doubles.
Which Marlins hitter do you fear most with a runner in scoring position?
E-mail Corey Seidman at email@example.com