Friday, April 10, 2009

Hamels Rocked in Season Debut

With the early struggles of the Phillies starting rotation, fans had to be relieved when Cole Hamels took the mound and bucked an early trend by NOT allowing 2 runs in the first inning. The Phillies even took an early lead, as in the 2nd inning a Pedro Feliz sacrifice fly put the Phils up 1-0 in Colorado.

However, just as Hamels arrival to the rotation was delayed, so was his implosion on the hill. Hamels surrendered 5 runs in the 3rd inning, sparked by a game-tying RBI single from Rockies pitcher Jason Marquis. Later in the inning Garrett Atkins would hit a two-run homer to pad the Rockies lead.

Then in the 4th inning, after Feliz scored Jayson Werth for the second time, with an RBI groundout, the Rockies struck for two more runs. This knocked Hamels out of the game and sent the Phillies to the bullpen far earlier than expected. J.A. Happ and Clay Condrey combined for 3 1/3 innings to keep the game competitive, then Chad Durbin aborted that mission, allowing 3 runs in the 8th inning.

Werth hit a solo shot in the 9th, capping off an impressive individual performance (4 for 4, 3 R, HR), but it was entirely meaningless (except for anyone with Matt Belisle on his or her fantasy team. Sorry Mrs. Belisle, tough break).

The Phillies were expecting a dominant outing from their ace, but did not get it. One has to think that Hamels was a little rusty due to his injury-shortened spring training and that he will get his act together soon. That said, the Phillies have sent out 4/5 of their rotation and the results have been appalling.

Perhaps Brett Myers will get straightened out tomorrow night and perhaps Chan Ho Park will deliver a solid outing. But who knows? The simple fact is that 1-3 is nothing to get alarmed about, but it's the way the Phillies have lost (and even the way they got their one win) that merits concern. The Phillies will right themselves, but let's hope it happens sooner rather than later.

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