Could the Cole Hamels of 2008 really be back? In his start tonight against the Cardinals, it certainly looked like it. Hamels pitched 8 innings of shut-out ball, even getting out of a bases-loaded jam against the amazing Albert Pujols.
Well, at least for today, Hamels has earned his wings back. The real test will be his next start and whether or not he can show consistency and repeat an outstanding performance.
Hamels had to be outstanding as the Cards pitcher was equally as impressive. The Phillies managed to squeeze out one run against Adam Wainwright. After a Raul Ibanez triple, Carlos Ruiz hit a long sac fly to score the only run of the game. And Jayson Werth was able to extend his streak of reaching base safely in every game this year, which has not been done by a Phillie since 1920.
However, the 9th inning took an interesting turn. Hamels was primed and ready to close out this ballgame himself when a fan did the unthinkable in such an important and tense situation. Another idiot ran onto the field for the second day in a row to delay the start of the inning and it threw Hamels right off his game. Hamels had to throw warm-up pitches while he waited for the moron to be dealt with. By the time he got started with the real pitches, Hamels allowed two doubles in a row to tie up the game 1-1.
I hope the Philly police tasered this guy too. And maybe later, the real fans can all get together and plan a proper tar and feathering for this bonehead. This behavior is just shameful and gives the good fans a bad rap.
So Hamels was pulled without recording an out in the 9th and the Phillies would have to rely on Brad Lidge to maintain the 1-1 tie. Lidge actually got the job done, putting to rest questions about how he would perform after a long stint on the DL. On to the bottom of the 9th…
Ryan Howard walked, which is awesome. But Werth struck out on a very bad pitch…not awesome. Ibanez flew out to center and then Juan Castro stepped to the plate. Castro was not good tonight at the plate; he was 0-3 at this point, having grounded into a double play and leaving 4 men on base. Well, make it 0 for 4 as he grounded out to send the game into extra innings.
But just when things were looking dreary, thank goodness for CHOOOOCH!!! Carlos Ruiz popped a wall-off homer to center to win it in the 10th! Whooo Hooo!!!! Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs put the exclamation mark on the evening with double shaving cream pies to the face of Ruiz. :O)
Game 3 with the Cardinals starts tomorrow night at 7:05pm. Kyle Kendrick will be pitching for his Major League life. If he has another horrible outing, the Phillies may be forced to look for another solution. Cross your fingers!
Here is a quick injury update: Ryan Madson and his self-inflicted broken toe will be out for a minimum of 2 months. The break was so bad, the doctor had to operate and insert pins to stabilize the fracture. For a bullpen that is already in bad shape, this is not good. Starter JA Happ is also not expected back very soon; it will be the end of May at the earliest. Same goes for Jimmy Rollins. May should be another interesting month.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography