Patrick Corbin is among the best pitchers in the NL, a status Cole Hamels is trying to re-establish.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will try to win for the seventh straight time with Corbin on the mound Thursday night when they face Hamels and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of this four-game set.
Corbin (4-0, 1.80 ERA) is among the league leaders in wins and ERA after going 6-8 with a 4.54 ERA and one save in 22 games - 17 starts - as a rookie last year.
"Corbin could be easily 6-0 for us," manager Kirk Gibson said.
The left-hander was spotted a six-run lead in the second inning Saturday, and cruised through seven while yielding one run and five hits with seven strikeouts to win 8-1 at San Diego.
"I just want to keep this up," Corbin told the team's official website. "I know I've got a lot of starts left, and that's one thing I don't want to fatigue or anything like that. So I just want to keep doing what I've been doing."
Hamels (1-4, 4.34), a three-time All-Star and 2008 World Series MVP, may feel the same way after compiling a 2.31 ERA and holding opponents to .171 average over his last five starts. However, he has just a 1-2 record to show for it since he's been backed by an average of 2.1 runs.
Still, the left-hander's stretch is an impressive turnaround after he lost his first two starts while getting tagged for 13 runs and four homers in 10 2-3 innings.
He did his part again Saturday, when the only runs he allowed in eight innings came on a pair of solo homers, while the Phillies were one-hit in a 2-0 loss to Miami.
"I don't think it's anything I haven't already learned," Hamels told the team's official website. "I've pitched a few years here in the big leagues and had some instances where I didn't get the runs. You have to keep playing the game, because it can definitely turn around."
Perhaps a meeting with the Diamondbacks (19-15) can help since the Phillies (16-19) have won six of the last eight matchups, hitting .309 while averaging 5.4 runs.
Hamels is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts in Phoenix.
Philadelphia, though, has struggled to find consistency, and enters this series after falling 4-3 in 10 innings at San Francisco on Wednesday, falling short of a three-game sweep.
"We have core guys on this team who know to win. We'll survive," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Others can think what they want, it's what we believe."
The Diamondbacks won three straight and four of the final five games on a six-game trip, including Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Dodgers. Paul Goldschmidt provided the go-ahead homer in all three games during a sweep of Los Angeles, hitting a pair in the finale.
Goldschmidt finished the series 7 for 13 with four homers and nine RBIs, and he's hitting .385 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs on the road. The first baseman hasn't been nearly that effective at home, though, batting .250 with two homers and eight RBIs.
That difference has been evident over eight career meetings with the Phillies.
Goldschmidt is 0 for 7 with three strikeouts in two home matchups, while going 5 for 17 with three homers and five RBIs in Philadelphia.
He's 0 for 3 versus Hamels.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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