Results tagged ‘ Cole Hamels ’

Ruiz, Hamels, Papelbon Are NL All-Stars

Chooch made it.

Major League Baseball announced its All-Star Game rosters this afternoon and Carlos Ruiz made the National League team as a reserve.

It would have been a shock had Ruiz not made the roster. He entered Sunday leading baseball in batting average (.358). He also ranked third in on-base percentage (.423), eighth in slugging percentage (.585) and fourth in OPS (1.008).

It is a special moment for Ruiz, who is one of the most popular players in the Phillies clubhouse, because he made the All-Star team for the first time.

Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon also made the team.

Hamels is 10-4 with a 3.08 ERA. He is tied for fourth in the Majors in wins. It is his third All-Star appearance. He also made the team in 2007 and 2011. Papelbon is 2-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 18 saves in 19 opportunities. He is tied for eighth in the Majors in saves. It is Papelbon’s fifth All-Star Game, and first with the Phillies. He made the American League All-Star team with the Boston Red Sox from 2006-09.

But Ruiz is the player Phillies fans wanted to see in Kansas City on July 10. He has been one of the very few bright spots for the Phillies this season, giving them a reason to cheer as the Phillies sit in last place in the National League East.

Fake Tough

Photo courtesy of @JSalisburyCSN

Have fun.

The Phillies have tried to beat that mantra into their brains during their recent struggles. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun. On Tuesday they showed they still know how to laugh a little bit when several teammates sported red t-shirts with the Liberty Bell and “Fake Tough” printed on the front.

“Fake tough” should sound familiar to Phillies fans because Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called Cole Hamels “fake tough” after Hamels said he intentionally hit Bryce Harper with a pitch last month in Washington. Hunter Pence apparently purchased/spearheaded/organized/fronted the t-shirts efforts and Hamels donned one, although he had no plans to talk about it today.

“I’m not commenting on that,” Hamels said with a smile. “I’m just wearing it because I’m trying to be a good teammate. That’s it.”

For what it’s worth, I like ‘em.

Bad News from St. Louis

Cross your fingers.

Roy Halladay left today’s start in St. Louis after the second inning with what the Phillies call “shoulder soreness.” They said he left for precautionary reasons, but the fact Halladay feels anything in his shoulder is not encouraging. He told reporters in St. Louis he started to feel something in the back of his shoulder in his last start last week against Washington, but Rich Dubee said the issue has been lingering a bit longer than that. Of course, it is possible Halladay has been feeling something since spring training. Everybody remembers Ken Rosenthal‘s report from a couple scouts that Halladay lacked velocity and sharpness. Halladay denied any talk he might be injured, although he did not deny he lacked the velocity he had in the past.

“Yeah, I’m 34 and 2,500 innings, it does take a while to get going,” he said in March. “I don’t pay attention to that. The older you get, the more you throw, the longer it takes you to get yourself going. When I came up I threw 98. Last year I was throwing 92-93. It’s not unusual. When you get older it takes you longer. The more innings you throw the more it takes to get yourself going again.”

Halladay was 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in five starts in May, easing those concerns. But the discussion about his drop in velocity continued. Pitch f/x figures are not always accurate (they weren’t with Halladay early this season), but looking at those pitch f/x numbers anyway, Halladay’s sinker averaged 93.29 mph in 2010, 92.71 mph in 2011 and 91.6 mph this season. His cutter averaged 92.03 mph in 2012, 91.47 mph in 2011 and 89.58 mph this season. Dubee dismissed concerns about Halladay’s velocity, saying last month in San Francisco, “He’s got four pitches. He throws to both sides of the plate at any time. And overall he doesn’t use the meat of the plate. That’s what pitching is about. It isn’t about velocity. Velocity allows you one thing. It might allow you to get away with some mistakes. But straight velocity without location, and velocity without an option of being able to go soft or go backwards as far as pure speed, those guys get waffled.”

But another indication Halladay hasn’t been right is the fact he has thrown fewer two-seam fastballs. During his starts in 2010, 33 percent of his pitches were sinkers. In 2011 it dropped to 20 percent and this season it dropped to 16 percent. If pitchers don’t feel good about their fastball they often resort to their offspeed pitches, which could be the case here. (I recall Brett Myers relying a lot on his cutter a few years ago when he lost velocity on his fastball.)

Halladay blew a six-run lead in Atlanta on May 2, and looked bad again last week against Washington when he allowed five runs in six innings. He is 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA in six starts this month. Opponents are hitting .312 against him. Asked after his start against the Nationals if he was healthy, Halladay offered a don’t-be-ridiculous smile and said, “Yeah. Yeah.”

It turns out, wasn’t.

He will get reevaluated Tuesday. I would be shocked if he made his next start, although they could skip a turn with an off day Thursday. But I would be more surprised if Halladay did not end up on the DL. He’s a $20 million pitcher and means too much to the organization to risk throwing him back out there too soon. If it really is nothing serious like Halladay believes — he said it’s different than the shoulder problem that put him on the DL twice in 2004 — there’s no harm in shutting him down for a couple weeks and making sure the shoulder gets as healthy as possible.

But serious or not, this injury certainly has several potential implications:

  • The Rotation. If Halladay misses any amount of time, Kyle Kendrick will remain in the rotation. (He has a 1.64 ERA in his last five starts.) If Vance Worley can get back in a reasonable amount of time, the rotation will include Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, Worley and Kendrick. That’s not bad. But if Worley (right elbow inflammation) isn’t ready soon, the Phillies will have to look to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for a short-term replacement. Options include Dave Bush (4-3, 2.73 ERA in 9 starts), Tyler Cloyd (4-1, 2.15 ERA in six starts) and Scott Elarton (5-1, 2.98 ERA in nine starts).
  • Roy Oswalt. The Phillies watched Oswalt throw a bullpen session a couple weeks ago. It has been written Oswalt prefers to stay close to home in Mississippi, but don’t read too much into that. There were similar reports before he accepted a trade to the Phillies in 2010. If Halladay’s injury is serious and he misses a significant amount of time, Oswalt would make a lot of sense if the Phillies were willing to meet his asking price. The Phillies are still trying to stay below the $178 million luxury tax threshold, but Oswalt would put them over the top.
  • Cole Hamels. If Hamels is intent on taking the biggest offer on the open market this winter, the Phillies could make the argument they would be better served spending that money elsewhere (offense!) because they are the rare team with two other aces already in the rotation (Halladay and Lee). But if the news Tuesday is bad, the Phillies might not feel so comfortable about their pitching moving forward. Maybe it increases their urgency to sign Hamels.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

  • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, Del, 2 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

The Hamels Decision

As we waited in the Phillies clubhouse for Cole Hamels following last night’s 4-1 victory over Washington, a reporter sidled up to me and asked a relevant question:

“So is it cha-ching or ca-ching?”

“I always go with cha-ching,” I told him.

Hamels threw eight scoreless innings against the Nationals to improve to 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA. He is tied for the big-league lead in wins. He is fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.08), ninth in ERA and 11th in WHIP (1.01).

From 2010-12, he ranks sixth in ERA (2.83), seventh in WHIP (1.07) and fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.99).

He is just 28 years old, too.

Cha-ching!

(Buster Olney talks more about Hamels’ score in his column today.)

There are 133 days remaining in the 2012 regular season. The Phillies are hoping to be preparing for the National League Division Series at that point, but the reality is they are 22-23 and last in the National League East. Ryan Howard is rehabbing in Florida, but there are no indications he is close to beginning a rehab assignment. Chase Utley takes ground balls with the Phillies occassionally. He claims he is making progress, but you have to wonder (he didn’t seem particularly mobile the other day). Roy Halladay hasn’t looked like himself. Cliff Lee is winless. Jimmy Rollins‘ .578 OPS is 20th out of 25 big-league shortstops. Hunter Pence is in his head, struggling in clutch situations. The bullpen has pitched better recently, but remains a question mark. Charlie Manuel‘s lineup this week included Hector Luna (opened season in Triple-A) and Mike Fontenot (released by San Francisco before opening season in Lehigh Valley).

And those are just a few of the issues facing the Phillies right now.

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Who Are The Phillies Really?

It is May 8. The Phillies are 30 games into the season, and they are last in the National League East.

They have not been in last place this late in a season since July 8, 2005.

Thirteen times the Phillies had a chance to move to .500. They lost eight times. Six times they had a chance to move over .500. They lost every time. This is a team that boasts Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in its rotation. It has Jonathan Papelbon as its closer. It has Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz in its lineup.

Last place.

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Hamels Suspended Five Games, Fined

The moment Cole Hamels admitted he purposely drilled Bryce Harper with a pitch Sunday everybody knew he would be suspended.

He was.

Major League Baseball on Monday suspended him five games and fined him an undisclosed amount for his bean ball. Hamels did not appeal the suspension and began serving it immediately.

The effect of the suspension on the Phillies is minimal. Hamels, who was unavailable to comment before Monday’s series opener against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, had been scheduled to pitch Saturday against the San Diego Padres. But because the Phillies do not play Thursday, it is a smart bet they will have Roy Halladay pitch Saturday on regular rest and push Hamels’ next start to Sunday.

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Oh, It Is On

And the rivarly between the Phillies and Nationals just kicked up another notch. (From 10 to 11?)

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo absolutely blasted Cole Hamels in an interview with The Washington Post.

Read the story here.

A few highlights:

    • “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.”
    • “He’s fake tough.”
    • “No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school.”

Good news for Phillies fans: The pool of teams interested in signing Hamels in the offseason shrunk by one. Bad news for Phillies fans: Expect Hamels to be suspended.

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Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here! Here are our upcoming book signings:

      • May 10: Tredyfrrin Public Library in Stafford, PA, 7:30 p.m.
      • June 2: Citizens Bank Park, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
      • June 16: Barnes & Noble, Wilmington, 2:00 p.m.

Check out my Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter.

Just a reminder: The Phillies and Nationals play a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park on May 21-23.

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Turning Things Around?

This has been a welcomed change of pace.

The Phillies had two late-inning rallies the last two nights, which means I finally had something interesting to write about. As boring as most of April was for you, it was just as boring for me. It’s not fun writing different versions of the same story over and over. And it’s certainly not fun having to ask Charlie Manuel and the players different versions of the same questions over and over.  They get tired of the questions. We get tired of asking them. But we know you want to know what’s on their minds, so we ask away.

The Phillies have won five of their last seven games. They are hitting .266/.312/.384 and averaging 4.6 runs per game in that stretch.

They might as well be the ’27 Yankees compared to the start of their season. The Phillies hit .243/.286/.334 and averaged 2.8 runs per game through their 7-10 start. The only stretch I recall that was more painful was that 12-game stretch May 22 – June 4, 2010, when they hit .197/.277/.274 and averaged 1.4 runs per game, getting shutout five times and never scoring more than three runs in any game.

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Baby, You’re (Gonna Be) A Rich Man

So we know Cole Hamels will be signing at least a five-year, $112.5 million contract.

The Giants and Matt Cain agreed to those terms yesterday, and I believe most everybody would agree Hamels is a better pitcher than Cain. Hamels is 74-54 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games in cozy Citizens Bank Park. Cain is 67-72 with a 3.39 ERA since 2006, pitching half his games at canyon-esque AT&T Park. Hamels has more strikeouts (1,091 to 1,055), a better strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.74 to 2.32) and WHIP (1.14 to 1.21) in that span. He is at the top of most pitching categories in the National League since he made his big-league debut. Cain is up there with him, but Hamels is usually just a bit better.

So if Cain got that, Hamels gets what?

I wonder if the Phillies said today, “How about Cliff Lee money?” if Hamels takes it.

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Hamels Isn’t Worried About Free Agency

Cole Hamels looked good in 5 2/3 innings this afternoon at Bright House Field. He will pitch a few innings in an exhibition game next week in Philadelphia before pitching in the home opener April 9 against Miami at Citizens Bank Park.

Hamels becomes a free agent after the season. The Phillies and Hamels are not close to an extension, but Hamels isn’t too worried about it. Here is what he said:

Q: Surprised or upset at all a deal might not be struck before Opening Day?
A: No, I haven’t been thinking about it at all. This is something where it’s going to linger until something happens. Fortunately for the way I go out every single day and the approach I take is just to go out and get in good shape, get my workouts in, do everything I can possibly do right on the field, and things will take care of itself.

Q: When news broke Magic Johnson is buying the Dodgers everybody was saying, ‘Oh, that’s good news for Hamels.’ Did you think anything about it?
A: I didn’t know Magic Johnson knew anything about baseball. That’s my reaction. (laughs) I’m kind of glad everything can move on. It’s good to know all Major League teams have a functioning ownernship, and things are more clear for everybody, not just in baseball.

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