Phillies Phocus: Hamels, Werth; Show Me the Money!

By MATTHEW NADU
Columnist — matthew.nadu@yahoo.com
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If you stayed up late enough to watch Kansas St. oust Xavier in double overtime to advance to the Elite Eight, your five o’clock shadow was looking a bit  Neanderthalish.

As both teams swapped circus shots from the arch and bang ups in the post, Xavier failed to match their first overtime performance as a Dante Jackson front ended a game tying three with 13 ticks on the clock to seal one of the most exciting so far in the tourney for Kansas St.

The game was nail-biting.

Both teams strategies weren’t pretty.

They  were gut wrenching to watch at times but they put on one hell of a show.

One thing is for sure though, after last night Jayson Werth’s beard is a little more haggard and the Cole Complex lives on.

Today’s Grapefruit League focus is on you guessed it, the Phils own Neanderthal, Jayson Werth and playboy Cole Hamels (runs in the family.)

Opening Day is 10 days away and the questions are swarming around the two proven stars with something to prove.

Jayson Werth:

Werth is a far cry from the scrawny Baltimore geek with more eyes than Jim Eisenright. Ok, so Werth had four “i’s” back in the day but whatever. The Phillies right fielder is an animal these days, yes, he’s horse hormone free. But in his final year of his contract the breakout star of 2009 is going to be looking for big money.

Despite hitting .205 in 15 games this spring training look for Werth to have another big season (36 homers, 99 RBI’s) in 2010. He gallops around the outfield with Lebron shock blocking ability against the fence. He’s a major threat on the bases and is a media delight with all the stories left untold in his new acquired grizzly gristle mug.

Although he has started out slow in the Grapefruit League he will be productive and the money will come. But that flow might not be from Philadelphia.

Ruben Amaro Jr. is looking like a big league General Manager more than ever with his Roy Halladay trade in his ability to maintain future phenom Dominic Brown.  The right fielder stands 6’5” and 220 pounds, almost a spitting image of Werth at the plate and in the field without the price tag.

As much as we love the wolf man, his full moons in Philly may be short-lived no matter how many pitchers he slays.

Cole Hamels:

Where to start? First he is going to be back to 2009 World Series MVP form. So gentlemen make him part of your fantasy once again, ah fantasy baseball that is. The realization of last season has hit Hamels hard and without the pressure of being the ace for an entire season, Hamels should settle in very nicely as the Phils No. 2 starter. The righty/ lefty combo of Halladay and Hamels is one of the best in the league and if all goes according to plan, just like your bracket ha, the Phils will win their third straight NL Pennant.

Hamels had been dominant this spring with a 1.69 ERA in three starts before giving up six earned runs against the Yankees, go figure. But it appears Hamels has his confidence back. He was dazzling against the Tigers, the only team to rough up Halladay this spring, allowing one unearned run in five innings March 16.

Hamels regained velocity on his fastball, which dropped noticeably last season and has been working on his curve ball which can be deadly coming from a southpaw. He has also been working on a cutter, made famous by Mariano Rivera, to compliment his “Pat Burrel rounding the bases-esk” change-up.

Expect big things from Hamels this year on the physical side, mentally though, you might want to measure in as a least a Hershey Kiss before you ride the roller coaster.

So remember although they sometimes aren’t pretty and you’ll be unnerved more than Urban Myer, in the end Hamels and Werth will shine as superstars once again.

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