Hamels has set the bar for the Phillies starters

ST. LOUIS -- Cole Hamels will take a scoreless streak of 23 2/3 innings into Saturday’s anticipated pitching matchup against St. Louis Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium.

Hamels has done more than just revert to his all-star form of late. He has also set the tone for the other Phillies pitchers who are trying to follow his lead.

“We are feeding each other 100 percent and it starts with Cole Hamels,” said A.J. Burnett after pitching a complete game in Friday’s 5-1 win over the Cardinals. “He comes out and does it day in and day out and we are definitely feeding off him.”

Especially this month, it’s been an extremely high bar.

In four June starts, Hamels has allowed one earned run in 29 2/3 innings for a 0.30 ERA. He has 32 strikeouts and nine walks in that time. Teams have a .545 OPS against him in these four games.

And while it’s difficult to keep pace with Hamels, the Phillies staff is doing its collective best. 

“We are all trying to outdo each other,” Burnett said. “…David (Buchanan) threw great (Thursday) and I wanted to do better than him.”

Buchanan allowed just one run in 7 2/3 innings during Thursday’s 4-1 victory. So this competition has helped the pitchers, according to Burnett.

“And it all starts with Cole,” Burnett said.

In Wainwright, the Cardinals have somebody also known for setting an extremely high bar. This season he is 9-3 with a 2.15 ERA, but Wainwright also missed his last start with right elbow tendonitis. His last start was June 10.

It will be Wainwright’s 200th career start.

The Cardinals are looking to end a three-game losing streak. The Phillies are out to add to their five-game win streak.

Hamels has gone at least seven innings in eight consecutive starts. Between his performance on the mound and influence on his fellow starters, Hamels has continued to be the driving force behind this suddenly confident starting rotation.

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