Gameday

Hamels and Nola set to face off in battle of Phillies homegrown aces



Cole Hamels is a Phillies icon. (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

On June 17, 2014, Phillies first round pick Aaron Nola visited Citizens Bank Park for the first time. After speaking with the Philadelphia media for the first time, he was escorted to the home clubhouse where he greeted a few current Phillies player including Kyle Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins. Rollins told Nola that if he [Rollins] is there [playing in Philadelphia] long enough, he hopes to see him.

Nola was also greeted by his future teammate and his opponent for tonight’s matchup: Cole Hamels. Nola made small talk with the Phillies ace, telling Hamels how the team is sending him to Clearwater and that he’s heard nothing but good things about the organization. Hamels told Nola that he hopes he can move up the system quickly and start contributing to the big club “because it’s fun.”

About thirteen months later, Nola was one of twenty-four other Phillies players mobbing Hamels after he had thrown his first and only no-hitter in his last career start with the Phillies. A little more than five years after the two first met in the Phillies clubhouse, Nola and Hamels are set to go at it in a marquee matchup of the two best Phillies homegrown aces of the twenty-first century. In a season of very few ups and so many downs, this is an absolute treat for Phillies fans. Speculation on the possibility of Hamels returning to Philadelphia and teaming up with Nola will begin in the next couple months and questions regarding which pitcher is the better ace will be raised in the next few years when Hamels retires and Nola reaches the back-end of his prime. Tonight, however, Phillies fans can relax and enjoy what should be an excellent matchup.

Here’s everything you need to know for tonight’s matchup…

Hamels and Nola meet for the first time in the Phillies clubhouse during Nola’s first day in Philadelphia back in 2014. (Behind the Pinstripes)

Phillies Lineup

  1. Rhys Hoskins, first base
  2. J.T. Realmuto, catcher
  3. Bryce Harper, right field
  4. Jean Segura, short stop
  5. Scott Kingery, third base
  6. Roman Quinn, center field
  7. Cesar Hernandez, second base
  8. Adam Haseley, left field
  9. Aaron Nola, pitcher

Cubs Lineup

  1. Jason Heyward, center field
  2. Nicholas Castellanos, right field
  3. Kris Bryant, third base
  4. Anthony Rizzo, first base
  5. Javy Baez, short stop
  6. Kyle Schwarber, left field
  7. Ian Happ, second base
  8. Victor Caratini, catcher
  9. Cole Hamels, pitcher

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Aaron Nola (10-3, 3.67 ERA, 4.11 FIP, 3.90 xFIP) vs. Cole Hamels (6-3, 3.09 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 4.06 xFIP)
  • Nola was just okay in an early season outing at Wrigley Field. He went five and a third innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out six. In his career against the Cubs, he is 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA.
  • Hamels made his first career start against the Phillies in May. In just four innings of work, he gave up nine hits, allowed three earned runs and struck out six.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets 

Phillies Wall of Famer Charlie Manuel will return to the Phillies dugout tonight for the first time in the regular season since being replaced by Ryne Sandberg as manager in August 2013. On Tuesday the Phillies announced that they have relieved hitting coach John Mallee of his duties and that Manuel has assumed the position. General Manager Matt Klentak told the media yesterday that Manuel was the organization’s first choice to replace Mallee and that he was eager to take on the position. He also had this to say about what the legendary manager brings to the table:

I want to make clear, I don’t think there is a silver bullet here. What I do think Charlie can do is bring an energy level, a love and a passion for hitting, a looseness, a confidence and a different message to our hitters that I think can be very helpful for the next 44 games.

  • On a night where two familiar faces return to Philadelphia, one will be sorely missed. In last night’s victory against the Cubs, public address announcer Dan Baker missed just his third Phillies game since the 2004 opening of Citizens Bank Park. Baker announced on his twitter account yesterday that he is dealing with a lingering oral/sinus infection and will miss an undetermined amount of games. Scott Palmer replaced Baker on the mic in late April and assumed the same role in last night’s game.
  • Nola may have a relatively high career ERA against the Cubs (5.11), but the current Cubs offense has struggled collectively against the 26-year-old. The Cubs are slashing a mere .189/..272/.356 against Nola. Anthony Rizzo has had the most career success against the Phillies ace. In nine career at-bats against Nola, he has four hits, including two home runs and four runs batted in.
  • Back in 2012 as a member of the Phillies, Hamels admittedly plunked Bryce Harper on purpose with a first-pitch fastball as a way of welcoming the then 19-year-old to the big leagues. Harper quickly got his revenge as he stole home after advancing to third on a single. Neither Harper nor Hamels have had more success against each other over another. Harper is  9 for 37 in his career against Hamels with only one extra base hit.

  • Corey Dickerson left yesterday’s game early after being hit by a pitch on the left hand. Per the Athletic’s Matt Gelb, x-rays on his hand were negative and he is considered day-to-day with a bruised finger.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • 7:05 P.M at Citizens Bank Park
  • NBC Sports PhiladelphiaESPN (out-of-market only)
  • Sportsradio 94 WIPWTTM 1680 (Spanish)

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