Cole Hamels has a chance to accomplish what few pitchers have done lately for the Philadelphia Phillies and that's record a win.
Hamels draws the start for Friday's opener of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park and tries to put an end to the Phillies' six-game losing streak.
The Phillies are 1-7 in Hamels' eight starts this season. He has a 1-3 record and a 4.01 earned run average, and did not receive a decision in Sunday's tough 4-3 loss to the New York Mets, charged with two runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven innings.
Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, has pitched seven innings in each of the previous five trips to the hill and is 0-1 in three road assignments. The left-hander has dominated the Reds in 11 regular-season starts, going 8-0 with a 1.67 ERA. He tossed a five-hit shutout against them during the 2010 postseason, striking out nine with no walks in a 2-0 victory.
Philadelphia posted two runs in their recent game, but it resulted in a 4-2 loss and a three-game sweep against the Washington Nationals Thursday afternoon. Kyle Kendrick pitched well until the fifth inning, when he allowed an RBI single to Jayson Werth and a two-run homer by Adam LaRoche.
"We lost, so it wasn't good enough," said Kendrick. "I walked five guys so that wasn't good. My command just wasn't there tonight."
Kendrick allowed four total runs and six hits in seven innings, and dropped to 1-6 on the season. John Mayberry homered for a second straight game and has three in the last seven games, while Chase Utley drove in the other run for the Phillies, who have posted a National League-worst 9-20 record in the past 29 contests.
The Phils are now 10 games under .500.
Jimmy Rollins was 1-for-3 with a double and is now eight hits shy of passing Mike Schmidt (2,234) for the most in team history.
The Reds were aiming for a series victory over the MLB-best San Francisco Giants and suffered a 6-1 setback Thursday. Giants starter Madison Bumgarner was dominant on the hill and allowed just a run in eight innings.
Mike Leake wasn't so sharp and yielded five runs and eight hits, including two home runs, over five innings.
Todd Frazier had two hits and provided the scoring for Cincinnati with a solo home run in the first inning. Frazier is batting .367 during a six-game hit streak and has homered in consecutive contests. The Giants scored six unanswered runs after Frazier's shot and had an 11-3 advantage in hits.
"We seemed to have a really nice approach in that first inning, and we just weren't able to maintain it," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I don't know if (Bumgarner) got better or if we lost the approach. I'm not sure, but we just weren't able to string anything together against him."
Cincinnati is 0-2 since winning four straight and five of six games, and fell to 1-2 on a 10-game homestand. Los Angeles will visit for four games.
Johnny Cueto gets the nod Friday versus the Phils and will make his 13th start of the season. Cueto was able to stop a personal two-game slide the last time out in a 5-0 win at Arizona on Saturday, as he struck out seven and walked one over 7 1/3 scoreless innings. He scattered five hits.
The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings 10 times in 2014.
Cueto, who is fifth in baseball with 92 K's, improved to 5-4 with an MLB-best 1.68 earned run average and is third in the big leagues with 91 innings pitched. He is 3-2 in six home starts and 1-3 with a 5.31 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies.
Cincinnati lost two of three matchups in south Philly from May 16-18 and swept a three-game set at home last April.