Cole Hamels Up to His Old Tricks; Still Wins


Common sense.  Not everybody’s blessed with it.  In fact, to see some people make use of it can be a miracle of wild proportions.

I hear a symphony of terrified screams out my back window on a nightly basis, but do I call the cops?  Of course not. And not just because somebody spray painted our only warning on the side of the building.

Cole Hamels (, it is extremely fair to say, has had his ups, downs, and sideways for the last year and change, and when he begins to falter in a game–hard–its usually a telltale sign that the mound is about to give out beneath him and it is time to subject ourselves to the bullpen, stat, unless we want a real mess on our hands.  Don’t get me wrong, Cole’s in the middle of an uphill battle to 2008, and he’s well on his way, but we’ve seen too many games end early because he was in there when he lost his focus due to his own mistakes or the stoned fantasies of an aspiring disc jockey.

So, in the spirit of terrified screams, Twitter almost popped from the pressure of interrogatory punctuation hitting the internet in massive volumes.  He’d made it through “The Inning.”  He’d gotten out alive.  He was safe in the dugout in his windbreaker, putting the hope for a W in the hands of the relief corps and any insurance runs the lineup felt like offering.

But Charlie was letting him back in.

“Common sense,” I thought.  “Not everybody’s blessed with it.”

As soon as Cole steps onto the baseball field, he is instantly stalked, and this time, not just by squealing throngs of misunderstood preteens.

No, his pursuer is the infamous “Inning,” which smells the shaggy-haired former ace on the breeze and, flipping over an hour glass, waits patiently as the grains pass through, and upon the last whisper of sand through the funnel, pounces on Cole Hamels and has him do something like give up two home runs and make a select few TV spectators put their foreheads through a dinner plate that still had some dinner on it.

“The Inning,” struck again tonight, but to a lesser degree than some of Cole’s past disasters, and certainly not as agonizing as some of Kyle Kendrick’s little shit-fits that had me destroying all kinds of kitchen ware, not just the ones I happen to be holding in my hands.

The silver lining was that “The Inning” did not hit as hard; Cole maintained the lead and got out of his own mess.  He pitched a game, not a hell of a game, but a game nonetheless.  He got us far enough, and now it was time to breathe a sigh of relief and hang on for dear life as the bullpe–WAIT A MINUTE WHY IS COLE GRABBING HIS GLOVE.

That’s when Twitter exploded.

Not out of anger, but confusion… it’s that whole “common sense” argument.  It was like stopping the bleeding but then instantly wrapping the ambulance around a telephone pole.  We narrowly avoided “The Inning” in the 6th, and now Charlie was putting Cole back in the 7th?

You have to think how games like this affect a pitcher on a personal level.  To us, its just a pitcher being replaced by another one who will hopefully be successful (if not more successful).  To us, the other pitcher isn’t on screen anymore, so we don’t have to be concerned with him–like hiding a ball from a dog.

But that Charlie stuck Cole back in there (and then yeah, took him out) was saying that A.) He wanted Cole to keep his confidence even after giving up two home runs and B.) We need our starters to go more than six innings.  Charlie was setting the standard, asking more from his starter, and no further damage was done.  We got out okay.  And then not even the bullpen ruined everything (J.C. Romero recorded his first save since 2008).

And I have to say that Wilson Valdez, while having a tooth pick for a bat, is a fantastic middle infielder.  He throws harder than the kid on your little league team with the worst case of “daddy issues” and at one point, made two Brewers fans look silly when they jumped out of their seats assuming a ground ball was a hit that Wilson Valdez explained was not by making a great stop and a stellar throw.

And that’s how you sweep the Brewers apparently, who must have had a rough one in that they were victims of the aforementioned sweep, lost their 8th home game in a row, dropped to 4-14 in Miller Park, and watched the Reds take the top spot in their division.

Meanwhile, the Mets got swept in four games by the Marlins, an ESPN bottom line report that had me hearing a deafening chorus of circus music in my head.

Tonight, my unrelenting negativity took a backseat to some key pitching (and an RBI double!), and it is always good to be getting that from guys who aren’t Doc or the unkillable Jamie Moyer (that is the only way he will be referred to on this blog).

See you tomorrow, J-Roll.

The madness continues with TBOH on Twitter.