Great American Ball Park was the site of Cole Hamels' Major League debut. It's also the place where the left-hander arrived.
Hamels struck out a career-high 15 and threw his first complete game last night in the Phillies 4-1 victory over the Reds. According to the Inquirer, that’s the most strikeouts for a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling struck out 15 in 1998 and ties Hamels for the fourth-most in franchise history in a nine-inning game.
Though his career is still young and opposing hitters will eventually adjust, Hamels is making a case to be included on the short list of the National League’s best pitchers. It’s hard to imagine that word has not spread among players about this lefty buzzsaw in Philly. His 33 strikeouts leads the league and last night’s performance was probably the most dominant of any NL starter this season.
As a Phillies fan, particularly one that’s watched the team start the way they have, there’s this unshakable “too good to be true” feeling whenever he takes the mound. The confidence, the stuff – none of it seems to fit with a Phillies pitcher. We're just not accustomed to excellence. But we'll get used to it.
Break up the R-Phils
READING - The Phillies offense exploded for 13 runs, including five homers, in a 13-7 victory over the Akron Aeros at FirstEnergy Stadium. Infielder Jesus Merchan, typically not a home run threat, went deep twice and drove in six. Brian Burgamy, Juan Tejeda and Greg Jacobs also went deep - Jacobs blasted a three-run job off the pool pavilion deck in deep right. Everyone in the lineup got a hit, including Mike Costanzo, who went 3-5 with a hard double off the wall in left-center. The game also featured some great defense.
Strong overall performances from the starters - Landon Jacobson, Matt Maloney, Heath Totten, Kyle Kendrick and Tim McClasky - have the Phils out in front of the Southern Division with a 9-5 mark. Javon Moran is setting the table for the offense with a .916 OPS and 14 runs so far. Costanzo has Tim Moss disease; the third baseman has opened the season with 25 strikeouts, so hopefully he'll turn it around. I'll hit up beat writer Mike Drago for his early read on Costanzo soon. In his strikeout last night, it looked like he took the AB off.
The prospect-deprived R-Phils close their series with the prospect-laden Aeros this afternoon.