Three runs of support is about the most that Cole Hamels can hope for these days. So once the Phillies staked him to a 3-0 lead, he had to make sure that it held up.
It wasn’t Hamels’ finest performance, as he needed to work out of trouble a few times in his 6.2 innings. But he limited the Brewers to two runs, and after Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon contributed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, Hamels had his first win since June 6th.
Howard, who had been mired in a bad slump, appeared to have changed his batting stance a bit. His hands appeared to be positioned lower when starting his swing. Hopefully this change can help get him going.
It is worth noting that manager Ryne Sandberg actually used Giles in a key situation. Since Giles joined the team, he has mostly been used in low-pressure situations. But in the seventh, Sandberg called on the young pitcher with the go-ahead runners on base. After he escaped that situation, Sandberg left him in for the eighth.
Is this a sign that Sandberg is beginning to trust Giles more? If the team is able to trade Papelbon,they’ll likely need to start calling on Giles in late-game situations. (Assuming the Phillies actually have a late-inning lead at some point)
As for Papelbon, despite this being only his second save opportunity since June 24th, he didn’t have much trouble closing things out. He retired the Brewers in order in the ninth, and only needed eight pitches to do so.
Tags: Philadelphia Phillies