The Phillies completed a 3-game sweep of the Nationals tonight behind the pitching of Cole Hamels. Hamels had great control tonight and had only 1 inning out of 8 pitched where he appeared to struggle. He had a no-hitter through 5 innings but ultimately gave up 1 run on 5 hits. That 1 run ended the 29 1/3 scoreless innings streak for the Phillies starters.
While his pitches seem to be under control, Hamels still needs to work on controlling his emotions. After a couple of cheap hits by the Nats in the 7th, Hamels appeared to get rattled and walked the next batter on 4 straight pitches. The lack of mental control sent his fastball control right out the window. But if Hamels can learn to stay calm, we may soon see the 2008 World Series MVP back in top form.
While Hamels stifled the Nats, the Nats stifled the Phillies batters for most of the game as well. Jimmy Rollins had 2 hits in the game and an RBI; Chase Utley was able to score on a wild pitch; and Cole Hamels hit an RBI single, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. The 4 runs they squeaked out were enough for the win as Hamels pitched a great game.
Brad Lidge was put in for the save with a 4-1 lead; he gave up a run, but eventually got the save with a final score of 4-2. Lidge, despite 10 blown saves this year, has now reached at least 30 saves for the 4th time in his career. And the Phillies as a team reached a milestone of 25 games over the .500 mark for the first time since 10/3/93 today.
The Phillies will travel to Atlanta in what will be a huge series as they attempt to put any hope of a post-season out of reach for the Braves. JA Happ will return from some time off after an oblique injury and face Tim Hudson of the Braves at 7:30pm tomorrow night.
The Magic Number is now 10 as the Marlins lost tonight and the Braves won.
Photo by Jenn