Every week, the writers of That Ball’s Outta Here debate the key issues facing the Philadelphia Phillies. Joining me this week are Spencer Bingol, Alex Cheremeteff, and Michael Lecke. This week, we discuss what to expect out of returning pitchers Mike Adams and Cole Hamels.
What do you expect out of Mike Adams this season?
I have very little in terms of concrete expectations for Mike Adams, one way or the other. Just because I feel like there’s always annually a few veteran relievers battling back from injury who get hurt, I’ll land on the pessimistic side of the fence.
He’s a quality arm who’s surprisingly never earned a save despite his stellar career 2.38 ERA and strong peripherals. However, this makes the third year in a row that he’s spent time on the DL for shoulder-related issues, and he’s 35 years old. I’m not one to harp on the age of the team, but that’s a risky proposition.
In terms of what we’ve seen so far, rehab appearance results are meaningless short of additional injury, and he’s pitched a whopping one inning in the majors.
In that appearance, his velocity sat right where it was last season (which could just be a new-normal after aging and his original 2012 injury), and he didn’t miss any bats, or lose his control either. We just plain need to see more out of him.
I think it’s unfair for people to expect the Mike Adams of old – the 2008-2011 version. He was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball during that stretch. Consistently sporting a sub-2.50 ERA and a WHIP around 0.8.
Shoulder injuries are a pitcher’s worst nightmare. He looks to be healthy. However, he will have to be eased into the setup role. His initial appearance was promising. I expect him to pitch very well this season. He should be pitching the eighth inning by Memorial Day.
I don’t think that the Phillies can expect him to be a dominating setup guy anymore. He’s too old and had too many injuries for that to happen. However, I hope that he can at least be a semi-reliable option in the 6th and 7th innings. The Phillies don’t exactly have a plethora of reliable bullpen arms, so if Adams can provide some stability that will be a huge help.
Mike Adams showing up in a big league game already is a surprise. No one was really expecting anything from him after shoulder surgery. I sure wasn’t. The pundits didn’t seem to think so. If he can nail down a seventh inning role the Phillies will be more than happy to take it. I doubt he will return to the late-inning form he showed in Texas, but seeing him at all is reason for hope.
How long will it take for Cole Hamels to look like the Hamels of old?
Hamels hasn’t been sitting around on the couch eating turkey bacon. He’s been up to game speed in several rehab starts of late, and all signs point to him being healthy and ready to go.
A piece of me is terrified of some horrifying Halladay-like return on Wednesday, but I think more likely than not we’ll just see him adjusting to major league hitters against one of the best teams in baseball. As long as he seems to handle a full pitch count well, I won’t put too much stock into a potentially rocky first start.
I’ll place his “old-Cole” mode to be reached after three starts. He’ll do just fine.
Cole Hamels has been a slow starter throughout the course of his career. There is no reason to believe that this season will be any different.
I expect him to make two or three starts before he shakes the rust off completely. Once he rounds into form, we should see vintage Cole Hamels. By that time the Phillies will have a formidable top three of the rotation.
Hamels has never been one to hide discomfort. If something is bothering him, he traditionally has let the team know. Therefore, if he says he’s ready to go, I believe him.
Unfortunately, Hamels has been a notoriously slow starter. I’d expect at least three starts before he truly looks comfortable out there. After that, he should be back to classic Hamels form.
I think Cole will show up ready to play. His game is ready according to all eyes at Clearwater. Every year I think Cole will win a Cy Young award, and if he settles in for 30 starts I see no reason to stop believing.
Cole is a huge part of what makes the Phillies a threat. Cliff Lee and Cole can duke it out for top dog. Clearly they inspire each other. And with Cole on board, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez will find their grooves with better match-ups. Chooch is going to get the best out of them. The Fightin’s need to kick it up into another gear and Cole Hamels is that gear.
What do you think? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments section below.
And make sure to follow us all on Twitter:
That Ball’s Outta Here (@FS_TBOH)
Spencer Bingol (@SpencerBingol)
Alex Cheremeteff (@AlexCheremeteff)
Michael Lecke (@Bee5pace)
Mike Lacy (@MikeLacy_215)