MLB Lines: Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies at Seattle Mariners
Sunday, June 19, 2011
by Frank Martin
Philadelphia Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels attempts to become the first pitcher to reach 10 wins this season when he opposes the Seattle Mariners for the first time in his career Sunday. Hamels is tied with teammate Roy Halladay for most wins in the NL. Boston’s Jon Lester and Detroit’s Max Scherzer of the American League also have nine wins.
Hamels and the Phillies will be seeking their ninth win in 10 games after beating reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez on Saturday. Shane Victorino was the hitting star with four RBIs on a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh and a two-run homer in the ninth as the Mariners lost for the first time in five interleague games this season. Jason Vargas pitches for Seattle.
Hamels has won five consecutive decisions since last losing back on May 8 to the Atlanta Braves. Hamels has given up just two runs in 23 innings over his last three outings and held Florida to one run and one hit in seven innings while earning the victory in his most-recent start. Hamels has 97 strikeouts against just 19 walks, a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 5 to 1. Opposing hitters are batting just .203 against Hamels. Miguel Olivo is 1-for-9 and has fanned four times against Hamels.
Vargas has won just once in his last five outings, a dominating four-hit shutout of Tampa Bay on June 3. He lost his last start when he gave up five runs and six hits in seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels. The left-hander has pitched seven or more innings in seven of his last nine starts. Vargas has a 9.45 ERA in three career appearances (one start) against the Phillies.
Adam Kennedy started at third base Saturday in place of struggling Chone Figgins, who is batting just .195. Figgins has been a major disappointment and has been booed often of late by Seattle fans. Struggling Jack Cust didn’t play in either of the first two games of the series and certainly won’t start against a tough lefty in Hamels. Cust is 2-for-23 in June. Catcher Miguel Olivo has started 42 of Seattle’s last 49 games.
Brandon League’s 20th save on Friday came in Seattle’s 70th game, making him the third fastest reliever to reach 20 saves in franchise history. Kazuhiro Sasaki reached 20 saves in 50 games in 2001 and J.J. Putz got his 20th save in Game No. 69 in 2007.
Victorino has homered in both games in the series and is 18-for-38 over the last nine games. The .474 clip during the hot streak has increased his average 36 points to .305. Victorino is above .300 for the first time since April 22. Jimmy Rollins also had three hits, marking his first three-hit game of the season.
Placido Polanco went 0-for-4 for the second straight game and has just two hits in his last 20 at-bats. Relievers Michael Stutes (1 2/3), Antonio Bastardo (1 1/3) and Ryan Madson (one innings) combined for four innings of scoreless reliefs. Philadelphia relievers have gone 15 2/3 innings without allowing a run, the bullpen’s third-longest streak of the season. The Phillies had streaks of 19 1/3 and 16 1/3 innings in April.
“He’s going to have to toughen up and fight through it. There’s no other way to get around it. He’s a good hitter and a good player – he’s just got to keep working hard to find it.” – Mariners manager Eric Wedge on struggling Franklin Gutierrez, who is batting just .182.
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