Right-hander Freddy Garcia hopes to build on yesterday's complete game from Cole Hamels when the Phillies take on rookie Tim Lincecum and the Giants this afternoon at 1:35 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park. [Live Boxscore]
Phillies 5, Giants 2: If you didn’t watch last night, you missed what’s quietly going to be referred to as Cole Hamels’ best yet. It's certainly his most economic: a 97-pitch complete game masterpiece, showcasing another dimension of the budding star’s arsenal. After surrendering a home run in the first inning, the left-hander breezed through his next five frames, relying on his change-up and breaking ball almost the entire evening. The Giants would score on a sac fly in the seventh, but with his pitch count low, Hamels stayed on to finish the deal. The most impressive moment came against Barry Bonds with one on and one out in the ninth inning. Hamels fed Bonds a steady diet of off-speed stuff, which Bonds kept fouling away. Hamels refused to give in and fed the future home run king a fifth and final change-up, this one in the dirt, which Bonds chased for the strikeout.
We’ve seen a lot of great things from Hamels: a 15-strikeout game; he’s flirted with a no-hitter twice. This was his best. His stuff goes without saying, but this time he did it with guile and followed a plan. It was a truly special night.
Today's preview: Fans wishing Hamels could pitch again today will have to settle for Freddy Garcia (1-4, 4.59 ERA). Garcia’s been hard to watch. That would include his eight-inning, three run, nine-strikeout performance on Memorial Day. One reader who was at the game said it was more like Garcia endured than pitched well, never topping 90 mph, relying on slop more than anything. Physically, there’s no rhythm, too much upper body and no pop. But hey, at least he’s avoided total meltdowns. Four runs is the most he's allowed. Based on nothing in particular, I think Garcia builds on Monday’s game and goes seven strong.
The Giants counter with 22-year-old right-hander Tim Lincecum (2-0, 3.64 ERA), who made his major league debut against the Phillies on May 6, when he yielded five runs, five hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings. Since then, he’s been solid, giving up just seven earned runs over 29 innings while striking out 28, holding hitters to a .168 average. With Bonds sitting out, Mark Sweeney starts in left field.
Gordon, Myers updates: Because of Hamels' complete game, the 13-0 thrashing Friday night and the losses to Arizona, the back-end of the bullpen has been taken out of play lately. Meanwhile, Brett Myers is to begin throwing any day, according to a weekend report. Tom Gordon is considered weeks away.
Minor stuff: Ottawa reliever Kane Davis (19.1 IP, 2.33 ERA) moves into the Lynx starting rotation today and makes his first professional start since 2000. Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle features Chris Coste in his Sunday column and also gives an update on the progress of third baseman Mike Costanzo. [Link]