It could really only go down for Cole Hamels. After his second start of the spring on March 3 against the Red Sox – one in which he gave up just one hit over four innings – Hamels really didn’t have much to work on.
Against the Orioles today, Hamels walked the first two batters and gave up two first inning runs, but settled down to retire 11 in a row. “It’s just, kinda, the mechanics I have, and trying to get the reps,” Hamels said following the Phillies 4-3, walkoff win.
The Phillies fourth ace said it’s all about getting into pitchers counts. “You have to be able to go out and try to get ahead. I wasn’t really able to do that in the first, it showed. It’s just about calming down and trying to make things more simple. I think I was just complicating things with my wind-up.”
Even after the rough start, it was good to see Hamels find his rhythm even though he did not have his best stuff.
HOWARD HOMERS AGAIN
Ryan Howard went yard to left field today, possibly being aided by a strong wind that blew in from right field toward left. Regardless if it went out or not, Howard is starting to put the ball into play to the opposite field, a wrinkle in his game that was lost a year ago. He also walked before being pulled for Matt Rizzotti.
Manager Charlie Manuel said Howard is staying on the ball and trying to hit the ball more toward center field. He did hit into the shift for a ground out today, so it’s still a work in progress as he tweaks his approach at the plate.
VICTORINO HITS, ROLLINS DOES NOT
Shane Victorino went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a double that knocked in the Phillies second run of the day. He’s now hitting .333 so far this spring and has been working on his bunting. Without Chase Utley, Vic is getting a long look as the leadoff hitter, pushing Jimmy Rollins to third.
Speaking of Rollins, it was another day of ugly at-bats. Once again, he rolled a few balls over and struck out once. J-Roll is hitting a measly .185 so far. Yes, it is only spring, but Rollins has yet to do anything of substance. Manuel, of course, says Jimmy is “alright” although he did go 0-fer. Charlie thought Rollins swung the bat well enough on Monday against the Yankees, but didn’t have anything to show for. We all know Manuel won’t say much bad about his boys, especially Rollins. And even though Spring Training means little, it would be nice to see Rollins show a semblance of his old self here and there.
STILL NO WORD ON CHASE
Charlie Manuel still did not have an update on Chase Utley, saying he’d know more by the end of the week. People are starting to wonder (myself included), however, if this is a Belichick-ian cover up of something much more serious. At this point, only time will tell.