It appears that Cole Hamels has found his groove again, and just in time to end a long Phillies losing streak against the division rival Braves. Prior to Tuesday night, the Braves had won 7 straight against the struggling Phils.
But once Hamels snapped out of his pitching slump, he made easy work out of Atlanta’s line-up. He pitched a 5-hit, complete game shut-out with 6 strike outs and no walks allowed. Yes, Super-Hamels has returned to his $144 million dollar form.
Ryan Howard also channeled his younger, healthier self with a 2-run bomb in the 1st inning. The Big Piece is indeed still in there somewhere, which is a very good sign for next season. Once his Achilles is fully healed, Howard should be getting right back to making opposing pitchers cry.
And Domonic Brown continues to show he belongs in the majors, along with a few flashes of why it has taken so long. Brown hit a double in the first, right before the Howard homer, and he also worked a walk later in the game. Brown played solid defense, but also made some base running errors. The double was really a single that he stretched out, but he would have been thrown out if the fielder had not dropped the ball. Brown also failed to tag on a long fly ball to center in that same inning. So there are still some growing pains, but overall, things are looking up for Brown.
And of course, Erik Kratz continues on his torrid pace at the plate. With 2 hits again last night, Kratz is now hitting .406 in 32 at-bats so far.
So while 2012 is a wash, the future may potentially be looking a bit brighter. Game 3 with the Braves starts tonight at 7:05pm and Kyle Kendrick will pitch.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography