Cole Hamels was doing an outstanding job of keeping the ball in the park this season. Then he faced the Florida Marlins last month.
The powerful Marlins will try to rough up Hamels for the second time in under two weeks when they play the middle game of their series with the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.Hamels (6-4, 3.36 ERA) has allowed just nine home runs this season, but he surrendered three of those in a 7-3 loss to Florida (35-29) on May 31.He surrendered a season-high seven runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings in his worst start of the season. Hamels is 2-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five starts versus Florida.The left-hander, though, was able to bounce back with his best outing of the year, throwing a three-hitter in Philadelphia's 5-0 win over Cincinnati on Thursday. He struck out four en route to his second shutout of the season, moving him into a tie with Tampa Bay's James Shields for the major league lead in that category.But now Hamels will again face Florida, which boats one of the most productive lineups in baseball. The Marlins lead the majors with 98 home runs, 17 in their last eight games.In this series' opener, Florida hit three homers in a 5-4 win over Philadelphia (39-27) on Tuesday night to close within three games of the first-place Phillies."We score runs," Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Sometimes they come by the home run, sometimes they come with the doubles."Hanley Ramirez led off the game with a homer, and Jorge Cantu and Mike Jacobs each added two-run shots. Ramirez has six home runs in his last seven games, and is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with five doubles versus Hamels."They're an aggressive team, and if you make mistakes, they're ready to bang it," Phillies starter Brett Myers told the team's official Web site.Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell homered for Philadelphia, which failed in a bid for its five-game lead in the standings since June 6, 2001. It was the Phillies' fifth loss in their last 20 games.Philadelphia has hit 18 home runs in its last 12 contests, and ranks just behind Florida in that category with 95 on the season.Andrew Miller (4-5, 5.65), who will take the mound for the Marlins on Wednesday, has surrendered just five home runs in 63 2-3 innings. Miller, though, is 0-2 with a 6.92 ERA in his last three starts.The left-hander gave up four runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings as Florida lost 11-3 to Cincinnati on Friday night.Miller is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies. He faced Philadelphia on June 1, allowing three runs -- two earned -- and three hits while walking four in five innings in a 7-5 Florida loss.