From Citizens Bank Park:
On a chilly, windy day at Citizens Bank Park, the onus was on Cole Hamels to find himself after two relatively average outings. If not for a lousy offensive output once again, his performance would have been even more celebratory. Alas, the bats were once again cold as the Marlins took the series with a 2-0 win over the Phillies.
Hamels lone mistake on a blustery afternoon was a non-cutting-cutter that Dan Uggla clanked off the left-field foul pole in the second inning. He would scatter just six other hits during his eight innings, by far his most impressive work of this young season. Keeping the Marlins off balance with an assortment of off-speed pitches and a well-placed fastball was the cure for the early-season jitters. Uggla has three hits, and was the only Marlin who seemed locked in on Hamels. Other than that, he fooled Hanley Ramirez several times and made the bottom of the order look silly throughout. This is the Cole everyone expects to see on a daily basis.
After the game, Cole said he was happy with the way he’s been able to locate. “I really felt like I executed pitches and I’ve felt that the past couple games I’ve thrown. We going really well, we’re playing really well and thats huge,” Hamels said. He seemed rather unfazed by the fact that his offense couldn’t come up with anything again today, which is something that has not been an issue for the better-part of this season. Hamels insisted that he was just as confident after his last two outings, but today’s showing spoke for itself.
Jayson Werth, yesterday’s lone plate-crosser, said “all-in-all we’ve played pretty well up until these last few games.” He’d be correct. The Phils had scored 77 runs through 10 games. With just one over the final two games of the Marlins series, there isn’t really any concern in the clubhouse. “That’s baseball,” said Hamels in reference to the offensive struggles, and he’s right, too. No matter how in-sync an offense is, there will always be a game or a handful where the bats won’t fire correctly, but with this team, there are no long-term worries.
As the team embarks on a nine-game road trip that spans the Southeast, Southwest, and California coast, they leave with the comfortability of knowing that the sticks will soon come back to life and that Cole Hamels has found a groove. Beyond that, however, little is known.
Charlie Manuel said that J.A. Happ is experiencing forearm soreness, and he and pitching coach Rich Dubee will speak to each other later today about the course of action regarding their fourth starter. With Joe Blanton still on the mend, all eyes are on the status of that left arm. Kyle Kendrick will take his scheduled turn, but the rest of the week is filled with TBA’s on the probables list.
At least on this day, one in which a win was not in the cards, there was still a silver lining to be seen. Cole Hamels was nothing short of spectacular, which is something that hasn’t been uttered in quite some time.