In his much anticipated start to 2010, Cole Hamels had a fairly good day in an 8-4 win over the Nationals. He only managed to get through 5 innings with 2 earned runs and one unearned, but for his first start of the year, it was not bad. When he led off the game by walking the first batter on 4 pitches, fans cringed for a moment. But Hamels bounced back and did not have trouble again until the 3rd inning; he walked 2 more batters with 2 outs then allowed an RBI single. 2 runs scored that inning and his pitch count began to rise.
It did appear that the home plate umpire was squeezing the pitchers on both sides, which did not help matters. So with 103 pitches thrown by the end of the 5th, Hamels was done for the day. His arm speed looked good today, but his control still needs some work. Overall, it was a good first effort and hopefully the next start for Hamels will be even more productive.
Ryan Howard extended the 4th inning for Hamels a bit with an error on a ball to first that probably should have ended the inning. But Howard made up for the blunder by smashing a 2-run homer in the 5th. That is 2 games and 2 home runs for Howard; and for good measure, he hit an RBI double as well. Chase Utley had 2 hits, a walk and an RBI, in typical Utley style. Even Hamels joined the RBI party with a single to score Shane Victorino in the 4th.
After Hamels left the game, Chad Durbin did an outstanding job and went 2 scoreless innings. Danys Baez did not fare as well in the 8th, allowing 2 hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning. Antonio Bastardo came in to get the 2nd out and Ryan Madson struck out Ian Desmond for the 3rd out. Madson got the ball for the 9th as well and closed out the game for his first save of the year.
In these 1st two games of 2010, the Nationals pitchers have walked 17 Phillies batters. As our fearless TV announcer Gary “Sarge” Matthews said, “You don’t want to walk batters.” That is our Sarge; King of the Obvious. If the Nats can keep up this streak tomorrow, the Phils may just sweep this first 3-game series.
Roster Moves and Injury Updates
The Phillies also made a pitching move today, picking up Nelson Figueroa off waivers after the Mets let him go. He went 3-8 with a 4.09 ERA in 16 games last year for the Mets. Figueroa pitched for the Phils in 2001 and according to GM Ruben Amaro Jr., he will join the club tomorrow and a roster move will be made to make room. Look for Andrew Carpenter to be sent to AAA; Figueroa will take the long-man role in the pen.
In injury news, JC Romero is going to make a rehab appearance Thursday in Clearwater. Brad Lidge is not as far along, but he will toss a bullpen session tomorrow. Joe Blanton threw 60 pitches today from flat ground, which went well, but his recovery time is still projected to be about 3-6 weeks.
So tomorrow the Phillies will finish up in DC at 4:35pm with Kyle Kendrick starting in place of the injured Blanton. Then they are off to Houston for 3 games. There is no official word yet on who will start the Phillies Home Opener on the 12th, but if they follow the regular rotation, it looks like it will be Hamels.
Photo by Jenn