King Cole makes his return


PHILADELPHIA — After a season of freak accidents and frustrating outings for Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace got back on track last night at Citizens Bank Park.  Hamels pitched six innings, surrendering two runs. The lefthander had thrown 95 pitches – 64 for strikes – and allowed three hits while striking out seven, when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth.

In his last two starts, Hamels was plagued by injuries, forcing him to, twice in a row, to leave the game early.

Cole Hamels scores on Jimmy Rollins two-run double in the second inning. (Photo: AP)

Cole Hamels scores on Jimmy Rollins' two-run double in the second inning. (Photo: AP)

“I’m glad nothing came down and hit me or something,” Hamels said.  “It was almost abnormal, getting out there in the fifth inning and the sixth inning, like where am I? Because I haven’t been out there in a really long time.”

The next question was, what type of pitcher would Hamels be tonight.  Hamels has struggled so far this year, posting an ERA over 7.00 going into the game.  That question was quickly put to rest– Hamels was on top of his game, demonstrating his nasty changeup for the Braves hitters.

Hamels sped through the Braves’ lineup, not allowing a base-runner.  Five of those nine outs were recorded on strikeouts.  Many of those strikeouts ended with an off-balance Braves hit flailing his early bat through the strike-zone.

Hamels continued to roll, hitting a few minor bumps, and surrendering a pair of two-out walks in the sixth, bringing Charlie Manuel out to the mound, with the intention of taking his ace out of the game.  But catcher Chris Coste and second baseman Chase Utley lobbied for Hamels to stay, and Manuel changed his mind.

“That was great,” Hamels said. “Having my team’s confidence is the best. The ultimate goal is to have your team count on you.”

And it’s very relieving to see the Phils finally having a reason to have confidence in a member of their starting rotation.  If they want to make any attempt at getting anywhere near where they were last fall, they’ll need Hamels to rely on.


I encourage you all to join Chris DiFrancesco today at 1:00, where he breaks down last night’s game, discusses the Birds’ off-season, and more.  Guest list includes Mike Sielski.  Click here to listen.


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