Alliteration is commonly used in poetry, but has sadly been neglected in the baseball blog community…. until now.
The Phillies smashed the crap out of the baseball and by association, humiliated struggling pitcher Chirs Volstad. With his eight run in five and 2/3 inning performance, the tall right hander’s ERA climbed to a touch over six. While there are a bevy of new metrics by which to judge a pitcher’s effectiveness, I am pretty sure that allowing four home runs and eight runs is bad using any standard. After a 12-9 campaign last year, Florida is counted on Volstad to take another step forward. With today’s loss he falls to 2-7 and teams with Javier Vasquez to form one of the most inept one-two punches in baseball.
The Phillies have not hit five home runs in a game since last June. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Domonic Brown (twice) all connected in today’s game, making a great effort by Cole Hamels stand up. Howard crushed a liner to the opposite field, Chase is looking more like Chase every day and Domonic Brown absolutely crushed his second home run into the upper deck. Every regular save Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez notched a hit tonight bringing back memories of effective offensive performance. All these offensive positives were rendered irrelivant by one pitch thrown by Cole Hamels.
As has been the story all year, Cole Hamels was outstanding. He allowed a run in the first inning and retired the next seventeen Marlins in the a row on his way to a seven inning one run performance. Everything seemed to be coming up Hamels, when, in the top of the eighth inning, Wes Helms tried to ruin everything. Let’s think back to Wes’s tenure as a Philly. Pat Gillick was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in spite of the fact that he concluded that Helms would be a good solution to the post David Bell third base situation after the 2006 baseball season season. He responded with five home runs and nine errors. Luckily he was paid over two million dollars for his services. Wes Helms stepped to the plate, worked a walk off of Hamels and mysteriously, Hamels left the game with “lower back tightness.” There may be no evidence to connect Helms to the injury, but after watching his craft ineffectiveness, I am certainly not going to rule anything out.
Hamels was great, the offense in general looked great and the Marlins continue to struggle (after tonight’s loss coupled with a Mets win, the Marlins are officially in fourth place). It even turned out that Cole’s back just had a knot in it. I don’t know what that means, but I choose to be blindly optimistive and assume that he is fine.
Double header tomorrow featuring Kyle Kendrick versus Elih Villanueva and Roy Halladay versus Anibal Sanchez. Villanueva will be making his major league debut and Kyle Kendrick is horrible. Why can’t his back hurt?