But it sure would be special for the Marlins right-hander if he snaps his losing streak on Sunday afternoon.
That’s when Phelps, who is 0-5 since recording his last win on June 16 against the Yankees, will start the finale of a three-game series against the Cardinals that began with Friday night’s late game at Busch Stadium. The 28-year-old native of Hazelwood, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, said several family members will be in attendance Sunday, including his parents, Alan and Sandy Phelps.
“It would be nice to win here,” David Phelps said. “My last win was against the Yankees, which was the team that I came up with. So it would be nice to get my next win against the team I rooted for.”
It will be the first start since Aug. 5 for Phelps, who is 4-8 with a 4.35 ERA this season. His last start was his second-worst of the year — he allowed seven runs and eights hit in 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Mets — and his only other career start in his hometown was similarly forgettable.
Phelps pitched for the Yankees at Busch Stadium on May 27, 2014, allowing five runs (three earned) and eight hits in six innings in a 6-0 loss.
“It was exciting to be out there,” Phelps said. “I saw a lot of people in the stands as I was warming up. A couple of my high school math teachers were there, one of my coaches growing up, a lot of my friends were out there in the bullpen watching me warm up. It was just a lot of fun. It doesn’t get much better than baseball in St. Louis.”
Unless, of course, Phelps can win in St. Louis.
HOMECOMING OF SORTS
One of the newest members of the Marlins’ pitching staff also is returning to his old stomping grounds, in a sense. Rookie reliever Kyle Barraclough was acquired from the Cardinals’ organization in a July 24 trade for former Marlins closer Steve Cishek.
Barraclough, a 25-year-old right-hander, didn’t pitch above the Double A level with the Cardinals. He hasn’t allowed a run in his first three appearances with the Marlins, striking out five in 2 2/3 innings, and picked up his first major-league victory in Wednesday’s 14-6 home win against the Red Sox.
Marlins manager Dan Jennings said Barraclough has yet to show any signs of being intimidated by big-league hitters. That’s unlikely to change this weekend.
“It’s got to be a big moment for Barraclough, knowing that he’s coming here from the organization that traded him,” Jennings said. “And I’m sure when he gets that opportunity, he wants to show them that, ‘Hey guys, this is what you could have had.’ That’s always a little extra incentive.”
NOT QUITE READY
Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich was held out of the starting lineup for the third game in a row Friday as he recovers from a right knee contusion sustained in Sunday’s 4-1 victory against the Braves in Atlanta.
Jennings said Yelich was available to pinch-hit Friday and should be ready to start again in “a day, two days at the most.” Miami has had two off days since Yelich, batting .275 with 37 runs scored and 14 stolen bases this year, was injured while playing defense.
“It’s not coming along as fast as I would have liked,” Yelich said. “It’s really just one of those things where you got to wait until the swelling goes down and stuff like that. I’m sitting tight, taking it day to day.”
▪ Saturday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (2-2, 4.29 ERA) at St. Louis Cardinals RHP John Lackey (9-7, 2.91), 7:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP David Phelps (4-8, 4.35) at Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez (12-4, 2.62), 2:15 p.m., Busch Stadium.