He didn’t look like the ‘08 Hamels, but he also didn’t look like Adam Eaton; Last night, Cole Hamels put together an adequate performance in his first start of the season, which led to an 8-4 Phillies victory.
Hamels, who is coming off a poor season in ’09, pitched good enough to win last night’s game against the Washington Nationals. Though Hamels gave up a homerun in the 3rd to SS Ian Desmond, as well as walking 4 batters, Hamels showed the type of composure that we just didn’t see from him last year. When he got into trouble, he showed the ability to get out of it. One concern, of course, was the poor location. While the ump did have a tight strike zone, Hamels needs to be able to make adjustments. However, Cole showed the mental toughness that wasn’t there in ’08. Last year, I frequently suggested that Hamels should pay a visit to a Shrink. Last night, it appeared that maybe he did, because he wasn’t the head-case we saw last year. Enough about Hamels though; How about that Phillies offense?
Last night’s game featured another Phillies offensive explosion, highlighted by another bomb by 1B Ryan Howard. That homerun came in the 5th, off of Nationals starter Jason Marquis. Placido Polanco, the Phillies new third baseman, also went 2-4 with a double, and scored 3 of the Phillies 8 runs. However, even in victory, there were some negatives about last night. LF Raul Ibanez still hasn’t found his swing, going 0-3 and dropping his average to .143 in this still very early season. If he doesn’t get his act together, those “RAUULLLLLL” chants will quickly turn into “BOOOOOOOO”.
Today, the Phillies look for the sweep, sending RHP Kyle Kendrick to the mound against Nationals’ pitcher, Craig Stammen. Today, we will see if all the sucking up to Roy Halladay will pay off for KK. Kyle enjoyed a successful spring, posting a 1.46 ERA. In his career against the Nationals, Kyle Kendrick is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA. But, don’t read too much into that. I expect we will see a more poised Kyle Kendrick than we have seen in past years. The game can be seen on CSN, and first pitch is at 4:35.