Having appeared to lose their hitting stroke on the road, the Philadelphia Phillies are likely eager to return home.
They might not be quite as enthusiastic to face Adam Wainwright.
Looking to build on a sensational outing, the St. Louis Cardinals staff ace will try to continue his recent success against the Phillies in Thursday night's series opener.
Philadelphia (6-9) batted a respectable .259 in its first 10 games but hit .191 and was outscored 19-7 during a 1-4 finish to a six-game road trip. After getting edged 1-0 in the conclusion of a suspended game Wednesday in Cincinnati, the Phillies were blown out 11-2 later that night as part of a three-game sweep.
"Our game is not together," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It seems like ever since the season started, we've been out of whack. Things haven't been working for us."
Philadelphia has fared much better at the plate in its last four home games, batting .288 with an average of 6.3 runs, but will have to face Wainwright (2-1, 2.05 ERA) in the opener to an eight-game stay at Citizens Bank Park.
Wainwright has yielded two runs over 16 innings in winning his last two starts, and is coming off a four-hitter in Saturday's 8-0 win over Milwaukee. The right-hander also matched a career high with 12 strikeouts and went 3 for 3 with two RBIs.
"He's back to himself. He's healthy, and that's a great place to start. Seasons like last year teach you how to pitch more than just rely on great stuff," manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright, who was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA in 2012 after winning 20 games and posting a 2.42 ERA the previous season.
Wainwright is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his last three starts against Philadelphia and gave up one run over six innings in his only matchup last season, an 8-3 win May 27.
The Phillies will counter with Cole Hamels (0-2, 7.56), who is facing St. Louis (8-6) for the first time since Game 3 of the 2011 NL division series. The left-hander threw six scoreless innings in that victory but couldn't earn a win Saturday in Miami despite his best outing of the season.
After putting up a 10.97 ERA in losing his first two starts, Hamels gave up one run, three hits and three walks over six innings but didn't get enough support and the Marlins rallied for a 2-1 win.
"Cole did fine," Manuel said. "His stuff was real good."
Hamels will face a Cardinals team that was limited to one hit in Wednesday's 5-0 loss to Pittsburgh. This came after its scored 10 in Monday's series opener.
"It was a well-pitched game on both sides," Matheny said. "Unfortunately for us, their guy was just a little bit better."
Matt Holliday was hitless in three at-bats Wednesday after batting .321 with seven RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.
The Phillies went 5-2 against St. Louis in 2012 to win the season series for the first time since 2009, and won two of three at Citizens Bank in August.