Whatever got slipped into Cole Hamels‘ (2-1, 2.92) gatorade after he lasted only 2.2 innings against the Mets in his 2011 debut giving up six runs needs to stay in his gatorade.
Hamels, pitching in his native San Diego, did not disappoint any friends or family members who made the drive to Petco Park to see his Phillies take on the Padres. Hamels went eight innings allowed four hits and struck out eight batters. Since his meltdown against the Mets, Hollywood has allowed only two runs in his last 22 innings. His ERA dropped from 4.32 to 2.92 after today’s 2-0 win.
After the sixth inning Hamels had already thrown 100 pitches. Nowadays when a pitcher hits triple digits everyone is calling for the bullpen. Charlie Manuel didn’t. He stuck with his lefty and it paid off. Hamels was still crisp on his location and his fastball was topping out at 93 mph. On his 124th pitch of the night he struck out Orlando Hudson looking. Two pitches later, he was out of the eighth and on his way to his second victory of this young season.
It was the sixth time the Padres had been shutout this season. They lead the league in that category. For Phillies pitchers, this was the fifth shutout in 19 games. Again, league leading.
While Hamels has really bounced back since the first week of the season and the bullpen is establishing themselves as a top tier relief core, the offense continues to struggle. Luckily for the Phillies, the pitching has been able to step up and win some games.
Proving once again that a walk is as a good as hit tonight, Ryan Howard hit a two run triple that scored Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino. Both runners were on base via the walk. After Howard’s triple Ben Francisco swung at the first pitch and fouled out to first to end the inning. Earlier that inning, Jimmy Rollins did the same thing after Padres starter Clayton Richard (1-1, 3.81) walked Polanco on four straight pitches.
A lineup that featured almost every hitter hitting above .300 has now seen only Victorino and Polanco manage to stay above that mark. After an 0-4 day at the plate, Raul Ibanez has sunk the deepest to .197 for the season. The Phillies are notorious for cold spells, especially early in the season, but how long can their pitching bail them out?
For the past few years, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has gone out at the trade deadline and grabbed a starting pitcher. Is this the year he looks for a bat to insert into the lineup. I am not saying the Phillies can’t win with this lineup, because they are, but let’s just hope their bats heat up as the weather does.
Howard had two hits tonight as did Hamels, who was sporting some new fuzz on his usually clean shaven face. So between that and the Padres booth upstairs calling Wilson Valdez ‘Winston’ and Rollins ‘Collins’ it was a strange yet exciting night to watch the Phillies.
Lost in the pitching gem from Hamels might be the play of Rollins in the field. He made a couple good plays showing his range that a lot of people thought he would be missing this season.
All in all, another series win for the Phillies. Your move Joe Blanton.