Cole Hamels’ season has boiled down to a pair of brilliant starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In many ways, Hamels, on the mound tonight to open the Phillies' series with Toronto, has been this season's missing player. Actually, he still doesn't have enough innings to qualify among league leaders even if his numbers weren't as mediocre as they are. Much of that isn't his fault, but some of it is. He showed up unprepared by his own admission. So far, we haven't seen the focus and consistency one would expect from an elite starter. Now the Phils are living with a taxed bullpen and short-handed rotation. It's time for the World Series MVP to settle in and take command.
Links: Scott Lauber offers a well-constructed study of Ryan Madson’s rise to prominence, including a behind the scenes look at his decision to accept a long-term deal. Be sure to check it out here. ... Todd Zolecki cites some advanced numbers to explain how luck has not been on Jimmy Rollins’ side. ... Yesterday in Reading, just after the crack of dawn, Joe Savery improved to a Segovia-esque 8-1 in a 5-2, victory, moving the R-Phils to just 3 1/2 games out of first. Thanks to a stacked rotation that includes Savery, Kyle Drabek, Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Tyson Brummett, the good times are back in Baseballtown, writes Mike Drago.
Minor stats: Outfielder Michael Taylor third in Eastern League OPS (.955). Quintin Berry second in EL stolen bases (20). Berry’s been getting on base at a good clip (.363), but has no power (.324 SLG). In the Florida State League, Dominic Brown, rated as the best prospect in the Phillies’ system, mirrors Tayor with a third-best .911 OPS with 9 homers and 14 steals. Power is at such a premium in the minors, and around baseball frankly. It’s nice to have some weapons rising up the chain.
Jays pitching matchups: Tonight at 7:05: LHP Romero (3.71) vs. Hamels (4.62); Tomorrow at 7:05: RHP Richmond (3.90) vs. Moyer (6.11); Thursday at 1:05: RHP Janssen (6.23) vs. Blanton (5.17).