The Ace Loves LA
He knew it in the bullpen.
Hamels’ bullpen before last night’s 3-0 victory over the Dodgers was so good that Ruiz turned to Phillies bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer and said, “It’s going to be a good day for Cole. He’ll go eight innings.”
He went nine.
Hamels allowed just five hits and struck out five as he threw just 97 pitches for the third shutout of his career. He kept the ball down in the strike zone. He mixed his pitches. He threw to both side of the plate.
The Phillies have won seven-straight games and 16 of their last 20 to take a four-game lead over the Mets in the NL East. The Phillies have a 3.86 ERA in that stretch. They had a 3.88 ERA last season when they won the World Series. That is an encouraging sign because this team has been consistent offensively and defensively the entire season. If they can put everything together they could be scary.
And with Brett Myers likely lost for the season, Hamels becomes even more important to this team. He’s not going to throw a shutout every night, but they need him to be the rock in a rotation that includes two rookie left-handers.
“I’d say I feel real good when he pitches,” Charlie Manuel said. “I think most guys on our team and most people in Philadelphia feel that way.”
Ruiz said Hamels shook him off maybe three or four times the entire game. They were thinking alike.