Thinking of the Possibilities
Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain?
You got a death wish or something?
But if Cole Hamels is back — he certainly looked like it tonight in a complete game 1-0 victory over the Giants — how scary does a rotation that includes Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ look?
Hamels has tied a career-high with 19 scoreless innings. Lee is 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts. Blanton is 7-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 17 starts since May 26. Happ is 10-3 with a 2.63 ERA, making him a frontrunner for National League Rookie of the Year.
“If everybody pitches like they can and Joe continues to pitch the way he has then it could be a heck of a rotation,” Jimmy Rollins said. “But I think on the other side of it, we can’t count on that. If we do we’ll stop hitting. And if they count on us to keep hitting they’ll stop pitching. We go out there with a job to do on the other side of the ball, defensively and offensively, and we’ve got some pitchers who will hopefully do what they’re supposed to do on their side of the ball. If we do that we’ll be all right.”
Hamels has not allowed a run since the third inning at Citi Field on Aug. 21.
The difference? His fastball has been a big reason why he has improved. Hamels’ money pitch is his changeup, but it plays off his fastball. And lately Hamels seems to have better command of the pitch.
“He throws his fastball and changeup whenever he wants to,” Ryan Garko said. “Either one, on any count.”
“The velocity has definitely improved,” Jimmy Rollins said. “He’s throwing his fastball again, and that is making his changeup better. He’s working ahead. He’s not behind because his fastball is up and away at 88, 89 (mph). He’s throwing it down through the zone at 92. The changeup is following that same plane and it can be at times unhittable. He’ll keep you off balance, too. In and out. The way he’s been doing that lately, he didn’t have that. He tried to come in and it was right down the middle and they weren’t missing. And now he’s got a little angle back, and that helps his confidence.”
Brett Myers struck out two in a scoreless inning tonight for Triple A Lehigh Valley. The radar gun showed Myers throwing 92 mph, but Tyler Walker pointed out in the Phillies clubhouse that the gun there is slow, so he probably is throwing a couple mph harder than that.