But after Hamels struggled mightily in Wednesday's 11-1 loss to the Braves, the Phils are looking to rookie left-hander J.A. Happ to salvage their three-game series and bring them back to Philadelphia with a victory in what otherwise has been an unsuccessful road trip through St. Petersburg, Toronto and Atlanta.
Happ allowed just five hits in the first shutout of his career Saturday against the Blue Jays. The Phillies could use a similar performance Thursday.
Happ had been scheduled to pitch Friday against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, but they moved him up to Thursday because it kept him on his normal rest and because he pitched well against the Braves last season.
He threw six scoreless innings against the Braves at Turner Field on Sept. 17 and allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park on Sept. 22.
PHI: LHP J.A. Happ (5-0, 3.00 ERA)
Happ needed just 100 pitches to shut out the Blue Jays on Saturday in Toronto. He didn't walk a batter in the first shutout of his professional career. "I think today's a good indication of what he can do and what his capabilities are," Charlie Manuel said Saturday. "And you have got to remember he has not been in the rotation very much. The more experience he gets at this level, I think [it] is definitely going to help."
On a 94-degree Saturday afternoon, Vazquez threw 120 pitches over 7 2/3 innings and allowed just one run against the Red Sox. However, the Puerto Rico native once again fell victim to a punchless Braves offense, taking the loss. Over his past six starts, Vazquez has a 1.90 ERA and a 1-3 record. The only damage came on an RBI single by Mark Kotsay that scored Kevin Youkilis. Tidbits
The Phillies entered Wednesday leading the National League with 107 home runs. They hit 100 homers through 68 games this season, which is the fastest they have hit 100 home runs in franchise history. The previous record was 100 homers in 70 games in 2008. ... The Phils led the NL with a .989 fielding percentage. ... Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt was in attendance Wednesday at Turner Field. Tickets
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Friday: Phillies (Rodrigo Lopez, 5-4, 4.42 in 2007) vs. Mets (Livan Hernandez, 5-3, 4.04), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Phillies (Jamie Moyer, 6-6, 6.05) vs. Mets (Fernando Nieve, 3-1, 2.25), 4:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-4, 5.08) vs. Mets (Johan Santana, 9-6, 3.34), 1:35 p.m. ET
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less