Winners of eight straight at home, the Phillies continue to inch their way closer to the Braves in the NL East standings. Yesterday afternoon, the Phils completed a four-game sweep of the Rockies to earn Charlie Manuel his 500th win as skipper of the Club. Coming in to play tonight, the Phils trail Atlanta by four-and-a-half games and just two-and-a-half behind the Giants in the Wild Card race.
Tonight, Cole Hamels (7-7. 3.40) looks to extend the Phillies win streak to six straight in the first of three against the Diamondbacks. Hamels is coming off one of the most impressive outings of his career last Thursday as he tossed eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball in St. Louis. Over his last 22.2 innings, Hamels has allowed just one earned run and stuck out 16. On April 23, Hamels surrendered four home runs in six innings as Arizona downed the Phils 7-4 in the desert. The Diamondbacks hand the ball to Rodrigo Lopez (5-9, 4.58) as they look to avoid a fifth straight loss. Lopez has dropped three of his last four decisions and has allowed six home runs in his last three starts.
Over the next 12 games, the Phillies play four series against teams with a combined 178-218 record. Guys like Brian Schneider, Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs have all contributed lately and the bullpen has allowed just three runs over their last ten innings pitched.
News & Notes: Brian Schneider's triple yesterday was his first since 9/22/07 (when he tripled off JC Romero)…Raul Ibanez is batting .371 with 8 RBI since the All-Star Break…yesterday's win marked the first time the Phillies have swept the Rockies in a four-game series…the last time the Phillies swept back-to-back four-game series was 1977 (June 30-July7 vs. PIT & NYM).
Phillies Line-Up: Victorino CF, Polanco 2B, Ibanez LF, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Dobbs 3B, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Hamels (7-7, 3.40)