Phillies at Reds
4:10 p.m. on CSN
The Phillies have found a winning formula. All they need to do is convince the schedule-makers to let them play the Reds 162 times per season with Cole Hamels on the mound, and they'll again be an NL contender.
Hamels dominated Cincinnati yet again on Friday night, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings in an 8-0 Phils win.
Here are five things you need to know before the second game of the series at Great American Ballpark:
Cole in complete control
Including a playoff shutout, Hamels is 10-0 against the Reds with a 1.36 ERA and .169 opponents' batting average.
That includes two wins for Hamels over Cincy this season in which the Phillies have outscored the Reds 20-1.
Hamels has pitched at least seven innings in six consecutive starts. Only Johnny Cueto and Tim Hudson have longer active streaks of seven-plus innings pitched.
Over that span, Hamels is 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings.
The first six men in the Phillies' order all produced Friday night, with Jimmy Rollins homering, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley combining to go 5 for 8, Ryan Howard driving in a run and scoring two and Domonic Brown plating three with a two-run double and sacrifice fly.
The Phillies had 11 hits, their most in a nine-inning game since May 26 vs. the Rockies, 11 games ago.
Bert Hernandez, baby
Roberto Hernandez (2-3, 4.03) makes his 11th start of the season Saturday afternoon. He's coming off his worst start since April 25. His last time out, Hernandez allowed five runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings against the Mets.
Hernandez has pitched well for a fifth starter this season but has struggled on the road. He has a 5.57 ERA and .299 opponents' batting average away from Citizens Bank Park.
And he better keep that ball low Saturday, because Great American Ballpark is a bandbox and Hernandez has had problems in the past keeping the ball in the yard.
Reds right-hander Alfredo Simon is off to the best start of his career, with a 7-3 record and 3.03 ERA through 11 starts.
Simon completely baffled the Phillies on May 16, shutting them out for 7 2/3 innings in a 3-0 win.
The 6-foot-6 right-hander has made the most of his first opportunity as a regular member of a rotation. He's held his opponents to a .226 batting average and walked just 2.5 batters per nine innings.
Current Phillies are 10 for 46 against Simon with two walks and 12 strikeouts. Utley has decent numbers against him -- 3 for 6 with a double.
This will be Simon's fifth home start of the year. He has a 4.13 ERA at home and a 2.44 ERA on the road.
Making the few knocks count
Howard is batting .228 but has 41 RBIs. Brown is hitting .207 with 30 runs driven in.
Among the 58 major-leaguers with at least 30 RBIs, Howard ranks 56th and Brown 58th in batting average. In between them is Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond.
Brown has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, but has had exactly one hit in all seven.
Brown has had multiple hits in just eight of his 57 games -- the same number as Astros rookie George Springer (in 45 games) and Manny Machado (in 32 games), and one fewer than Devin Mesoraco (in 31 games) and Kolten Wong (in 37 games).
Just imagine how many RBIs Howard or Brown would have this season if they were hitting even .250 or .260.