Friday night’s game started the way the fans hoped it would: Cole Hamels threw a quick 1-2-3 first inning on 9 pitches, the Phillies scored first that started with a double by Hamels with the RBI driven in by a Victorino triple in the third, and in the fourth, Jayson Werth scored a non-inside the park home run on a sort-of error by the outfielder for catching but not catching a fly ball before dropping it or bobbling it or not transferring it correctly or whatever it was he did. Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch overstayed his welcome on the field trying to wrap his head around the scoring decision and was eventually ejected by crew chief Dale “it is what it is” Scott.
Either way the Phillies were up 2-0 and Hamels had been pitching brilliantly striking out four and allowing just one hit leading into the bottom of the fourth.
The inning started off well for Hamels when he got Stephen Drew to fly out to left on just one pitch. He then threw three straight fastballs to Justin Upton who singled to left. No big deal, right?
Wrong. Next up was Mark Reynolds, who going into the night was batting .220 over 14 games with 17 strike outs and 11 hits (5 of which were home runs). After fouling off a first pitch fastball, Reynolds crushed an 89 mph cutter over the left field wall tying it all up at two apiece. It stung a little, but the phans had phaith that it would just be a hiccup in an otherwise great performance by the former ace.
Wrong again. Adam LaRoche followed suit and hit a solo homer to right field on an 82 mph changeup, Chris Young singled to center, and after striking out Gillespie, Hamels allowed the third home run of the inning to Chris Snyder bringing the total damage to 5 runs on 5 hits. Suddenly the Phillies had some serious catching up to do.
After stranding Placido Polanco on base in the 5th, Hamels went back to work against the pesky Diamondback lineup. After just five pitches Cole found himself in familiar waters as Kelly Johnson hit his fourth home run of the year stretching the D-Backs lead out to 6-2. Cole would eventually find his footing again but wound up with 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 1 BB and 7 SO increasing his ERA to 5.11 on the year and bringing his W-L record to 2-2. Over the course of the evening, Hamels threw 103 pitches with 70 for strikes which would have been quite impressive had his location been just a tad more effective. I suppose the silver lining of it all is that Cole is still technically off to a better start than he was in 2009 when after four games he was 1-3 with a 7.27 ERA.
J.C. Romero made his first appearance since September 28th throwing out 12 pitches and gave up 1 run on 1 hit – the second home run of the night to Kelly Johnson. Nice to uh, have you back, J.C.
The Fightins tried to make a late rally but fell short of a comeback losing 7-4. Kris Benson got the win who is now 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA for the Diamondbacks in 2010.
Some positive news to leave you on from rehab central: Joe Blanton threw three scoreless innings for the Lakewood Blueclaws today allowing just four hits, one walk, and striking out three. Brad Lidge also tossed one inning allowing one hit and one walk but gave up no runs – two HUGE signs of good things to come, hopefully.
Nelson Figueroa (1-1, 2.45 ERA) takes the hill in place of J.A. Happ (15-day DL, strained muscle) tomorrow vs. Ian Kennedy (0-1, 5.65 ERA) at 8:10 PM ET.
Maybe these guys will come back: