Sitting on 99 career victories, Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has one more shot to reach the century mark in 2013 as he takes the mound Wednesday in Miami for the final start of his season. The game will also represent the rubber match of the series between the Phillies and the Marlins.
Following a rough start to his year -- he went 1-9 with a 4.86 ERA in 12 starts through the end of May -- Hamels has bounced back in a big way over the last four months. The southpaw is 7-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 20 starts since, despite allowing six runs over seven innings in his last outing Friday.
At 8-14, the 29-year-old will not finish with a winning record for the first time since he struggled to a 10-11 mark in 2009, but he is using that, as well as his team's disappointing season, as offseason motivation.
"I know we have a lot to work on," Hamels said after his last start. "If it doesn't fire you up and motivate you for the offseason, then I don't know what does. That's kind of what I'll take into the offseason: trying to win and trying to do my job even better. I think that's what we all have to do, have that pride, and knowing the fans want to see a winning team and the organization wants to see a winning team. I want to be a part of it."
Hamels has faced the Marlins four times this year, compiling a 1-2 record with a 2.00 ERA.
Opposing Hamels for Miami will be Brad Hand, making his second start of the season and seventh appearance. His most recent outing was an inning of relief Friday in Washington, where he gave up one run in two innings. His lone start came against the Mets on Sept. 13, when he lost after 5 2/3 innings of four-run ball.
"The biggest thing for me is throwing strikes and getting ahead," Hand said. "When I fall behind in the count and have to throw something in there, that's when I get hit. And just not walking people, obviously."
Marlins: Slowey tosses pain-free side session
Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey has been on the disabled list since late July with right forearm tightness. While there wasn't any intention for him to return, Slowey did have an encouraging day Tuesday. He threw a 25-pitch pain-free bullpen session.
Slowey is eligible for arbitration next year, and it is unclear if he is part of the Marlins' plans.
Manager Mike Redmond noted that for Slowey's "peace of mind," he can head into the offseason confident he has thrown pain-free.
Slowey opened the season as Miami's No. 2 starter. He posted a 3-6 mark with a 4.11 ERA in 20 appearances, 14 starts.
Phillies: Club wants catcher Ruiz back
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has hit .301 with 12 doubles, four home runs, 26 RBIs and an .823 OPS in 41 games since Aug. 2 and will become a free agent at the end of the season, though the Phillies value his right-handed bat.
"We'd like to bring him back," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He knows we'd like to bring him back. We'll see what happens. It wouldn't be the first free agent [we've had]. … I'd like to have as much balance [in the lineup] as we can, we haven't been very good against left-handers. It's well documented."
Rookie catcher Cameron Rupp started Tuesday against the Marlins and went 1-for-4. If Ruiz does not return, not only do the Phillies need to find a starting catcher for next season, they will need to decide about their backup catcher as well.
• Chase Utley needs two more doubles to reach 300 in his career.
• Giancarlo Stanton has hit 15 home runs in 53 games at Marlins Park this season.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.