After outscoring the Dodgers 10-2 in the first two games of the series, the Phillies bats went silent on Wednesday night as they lost in Los Angeles 5-2. In a familiar sight, the Phillies weren’t able to give a returning Cole Hamels much run support.
Hamels Sharp in Debut
-Cole Hamels looked sharp in his 2014 debut. Hamels struck out Yasiel Puig in six pitches to start his season off. The southpaw looked sharp in the early going of this one. Hamels’ deadly changeup looked especially effective in the early innings, and it didn’t look like he missed a beat. The three-time All-Star finished the game throwing 86 pitches in six innings, striking out five, and allowing six hits with two earned runs. Hamels even went one for three at the plate, including giving the Phillies their first hit of the game in the top of the third inning. If this is the Cole Hamels that the Phillies are going to get all season to go along with AJ Burnett and Cliff Lee, then no matter how poor the rest of the team plays they are going to be in a lot of games this year.
Bullpen Struggles Continue
-The Phillies bullpen continued to look like one of the worst bullpens in recent memory as Jeff Manship, Mario Hollands, and Shawn Camp, who was making his season debut for the Phillies, allowed a combined six hits and three earned runs in just two total innings. Hamels left the game with the Phillies still very much in it, however, the bullpen couldn’t keep the Dodgers off the board once they entered the game. It is an obvious point, but worth repeating over and over again, the Phillies are not going to be very successful this season no matter how great the offense and starting pitching staff is with a bullpen that is as disastrous as this one.
Howard Continues Great Play, Rest of Bats Struggle
-Ryan Howard continued his terrific road trip going one for three in this game with a walk and a RBI single that got the Phillies on the board in the fourth inning. It was Howard’s fifth consecutive game with a hit. The “Big Piece” has seen his average shoot up to .273 during the Phillies current road trip. Howard’s approach at the plate is the best it his has been in years right now, and if the Phillies want any chance of competing this year they need him to continue this kind of play.
-The rest of the Phillies bats were quiet tonight as they only mustered five total hits in the game. Jayson Nix homered to left center field for his first of the season, and was able to jump his average to a whopping .185 with that home run. Marlon Byrd continued his terrible offensive display this season by getting no hits in four at bats in this game and striking out another two times. Byrd had a chance to drive in a run in the sixth inning after a Chase Utley double and Ryan Howard walk, but was only able to dribble the ball in front of the catcher. Byrd, is now hitting an unremarkable .238 this season with a dismal .274 OBP while leading the Phillies in strikeouts. Not exactly the start Ruben Amaro’s big free agent signing was hoping for to start the season.