(SportsNetwork.com) - Alfredo Simon began this season as the fifth starter for the Cincinnati Reds taking the spot of Mat Latos while he recovers from elbow and knee surgeries.
Now, Simon is among the leaders in the National League in ERA (3.03), wins (7) and opponents' batting average (.226). He's also aiming to win his fourth decision in his last five starts Saturday when Cincinnati resumes a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park.
Simon is coming off a win at Arizona on Sunday when he limited the Diamondbacks to three runs over 6 1/3 innings. This will be his first home start in nearly a month. The last one came May 10 in a loss to the Rockies.
Simon is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA in four games (1 start) against the Phillies.
Roberto Hernandez, who has gone 0-2 over his last three starts, pitches for Philadelphia. The righty gave up five hits and five runs -- four earned -- over 5 1/3 innings against the Mets on Monday.
Hernandez has pitched in six games (3 starts) against the Reds and is 0-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
Last night, Cole Hamels sparkled in 7 2/3 innings, Jimmy Rollins homered and the Phillies put the stops on a season-high six-game slide with an 8-0 win.
The Phillies had six hits off Johnny Cueto (5-5) in five innings, his shortest outing of the season, and scored four runs against him after he entered the game as the MLB leader in ERA and among the leaders in innings pitched.
The win came on the heels of a brutal three-game sweep in Washington, where the Phillies scored just six runs against the top of the Nationals rotation and gave up 19.
Hamels (2-3) played stopper, striking out seven and giving up just five hits and two walks. The left-hander improved to 10-0 in 13 career starts against the Reds including the postseason -- all Phillies wins.
He had been winless in three starts since beating Cincinnati May 17 for his 100th career win and first of the season.
"This ballpark can be very dangerous because it's not very big, so mistakes will most likely be hit out of the ballpark," said Hamels. "So you just grind away and keep the ball in the bottom part of the zone and see what happens. I think that's what I was able to do."
Domonic Brown drove in three runs Friday and Chase Utley reached base in all three of his at-bats against Cueto.
The Reds have lost three in a row, scoring just three total runs, and are 1-3 on a 10-game homestand.
Cincinnati lost two of three matchups in south Philly from May 16-18 and swept a three-game set at home last April.