Lefty Cole Hamels aims to finish the season with a win on Wednesday night when the Philadelphia Phillies close out a three-game series with the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.
The 29-year-old has struggled throughout 2013 after winning a career-high 17 games a year ago, but had gone nine straight starts without a loss between Aug. 1 and Sept. 14, upping his record to 8-13 and trimming his earned run average to 3.48.
The streak ended in his last start, however, when Hamels was knocked around for 10 hits and six runs in seven innings of a 6-4 loss to the New York Mets.
He faces the Marlins for the 29th time in his career and can gain a 10th victory against them after going 9-12 with a 3.16 ERA through his initial 185 innings pitched in the series.
In 15 road assignments this season, Hamels is 5-7 and has allowed 41 runs on 92 hits in 95 1/3 innings.
Hamels will be opposed by 23-year-old southpaw Brad Hand, who pitches for the seventh time this season and makes the 20th appearance of his brief big league career.
The Minnesota native was 1-8 in 12 starts with the Marlins two years ago and lost a single start in 2012. He's pitched five times in relief and started once in 2013, including a victory over Philadelphia after a one-inning stint on Sept. 18.
His lone game-opening effort of the year ended in a 4-3 loss to the Mets after he gave up four runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings on Sept. 13.
As a reliever, he's pitched 8 2/3 innings and given up a single hit and one run with five walks and 10 strikeouts.
On Tuesday, Kevin Frandsen drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the first inning as the Phillies took a 2-1 win over the Marlins.
Darin Ruf brought in the other run for the Phillies, who snapped a five-game skid. Zach Miner pitched four innings in the start and gave up a run on four hits.
Michael Stutes (3-1) pitched a 1-2-3 fifth to get the win. Jonathan Papelbon earned his 29th save with a scoreless ninth.
Justin Ruggiano drove in the lone run of the game for the Marlins, who had won two of three coming in. Henderson Alvarez (4-6) gave up two runs on five hits over seven innings to take the loss.
The Phillies won 11 of their first 16 games this season with the Marlins, a year after winning the 2012 season series, 10-8.