I have pretty much the same narrative after every Cole Hamels start; the ace left hander is making himself more and more money as he dominates the National league. Cole has been the team’s most consistent starter this season and has yet to settle on a contract which has talk radio pundits and print journalists ringing their hands and abandoning any talk of Cole’s high voice or purported lack of toughness. He even threw a baseball at a guy, on purpose! Today marked the return of the guy he hit and the forthcoming media frenzy surrounding their matchup.
Phillies fans (because I am writing this, I have decided that I speak for all of the Philadelphia fan base) could give a crap about this burgeoning “feud.” Mostly, we are concerned with actually winning a damn baseball game. If Bryce Harper gets hit in the nuts by a fly ball, then so be it, but the most important aspect of the season is scoring more runs than the other team.
That whole scoring more runs than the other team thing is something that has happened pretty often with Cole Hamels toeing the rubber. He is now tied for the league lead in wins and is top ten in WHIP, ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts. As stated previously, Cole is making himself more and more expensive with each passing start. He helped the Phillies avoid a sweep by throwing eight innings of shutout baseball, holding the Nationals hitless into the sixth inning. Not to beat a dead horse, but Cole Hamels is good at throwing baseballs.
The offense put enough runs on the board to back Hamels. Chooch is now the clean-up hitter and he responded by going 3-4. Juan Pierre executed a suicide squeeze bunt play and Shane Victorino hit his first home run since May.
Jonathan Papelbon allowed a ninth inning home run to one of the LaRoches to ruin the shut out.
As for the much ballyhooed matchup with Bryce Harper, he went 1-3 with a walk. No one threw any batteries at him, no one was shot with with a taser gun, no one booed Santa Claus, no one pelted him with snowballs and no one cheered for an injury. People in the stands showed him with boos and little else.
Next up the Phillies travel to St. Louis as Joe Blanton looks to rebound from his worst start of the year. The Cardinals counter with Jake Westbrook who has been surprisingly effective.