PHILADELPHIA (CBSMiami/AP) – The Philadelphia Philles had been struggling mightily heading into the All-Star break, but a series against the Miami Marlins to open the second half of the season may be just what the doctor ordered.
Perhaps the uncertainty surrounding the looming trade deadline is starting to bother Cole Hamels.
He'll try to rebound from one of the worst outings of his career Sunday in what could be his last home start for the Philadelphia Phillies, who look to complete a series sweep of the visiting Miami Marlins.
Though the odds seem good that Hamels (5-7, 3.63 ERA) and closer Jonathan Papelbon will be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver deadline, a report surfaced this weekend that Philadelphia (31-62) and incoming club president Andy MacPhail might hold on to the ace for the time being.
"I don't know who's going to be here by the trading deadline," interim manager Pete Mackanin told MLB's official website. "We don't know what's going to happen. We might have the same guys. We might have (new) pitchers, hitters, we don't know."
What Mackanin knows is that the left-hander must rebound after he allowed a career-high nine earned runs with 12 hits over 3 1-3 innings of a 15-2 loss at San Francisco on July 10.
"He looked like he was all over the place," Mackanin said. "He didn't have command.
"You can't have a good outing every time and I'm sure this is one he wants to forget about."
It was the shortest outing since lasting three innings in September 2011 for Hamels, who is 0-4 with a 4.47 ERA while receiving seven runs of support in eight starts since winning four straight from May 8-23.
"No amount of experience will put you in this situation," said Hamels, who remains mired in frustration. "There are a lot of different variables going on. It's hard to find the words to describe it.
"This game can be a physical and mental grind."
Hamels yielded an unearned run in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 6-1 home loss to the Marlins (38-53) on April 22, then allowed six runs and 10 hits over six of a 7-0 defeat at Miami on May 2.
Starters Adam Morgan and Chad Billingsley held the Marlins to two runs in 11 1-3 innings while Philadelphia took the first two after heading into the break on a five-game skid.
Ryan Howard, one veteran Phillie who does not appear to be on the trading block thanks to a hefty contract, is batting .368 (7 for 19) with six RBIs in his last five contests. Though Howard is 5 for 22 with 11 strikeouts against Dan Haren (7-5, 3.24), three of those hits have left the park.
Haren gave up a run over six innings in each of his last two starts to go 1-0. The right-hander's posted a 3.00 ERA while lasting six each to split his two against the Phillies this season.
Martin Prado had three hits with the lone RBI for Miami, which has lost 13 of 15 on the road, including a season high-tying six straight.
The Marlins' 43 errors are among the fewest in baseball, but they've committed four in the series, and nine over the last four road contests.
"It's uncharacteristic of what we've done," manager Dan Jennings said. "We're not that kind of club."
Prado is batting .313 with two homers and five doubles against Hamels.
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