Friday, April 10, 2009

A not-so-triumphant return for King Cole

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Cole Hamels' performance today couldn't look further from what we have come to expect from the World Series MVP. After being pushed back from starting on Opening Day due to a sore elbow, Hamels made his season debut today and put up this sparkling line: 3.2 innings pitched, 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 11 hits allowed and 7 earned runs, an outing that gives him an ERA of 17.18. Needless to say, the Phillies lost to the Colorado Rockies 10-3.

Hamels looked fine in the first inning after he became the first Phillie pitcher to get out of the first frame without giving up a run this season. After that, everything melted down. Hamels had very little velocity on his pitches, topping out around 86 miles per hour, and also had trouble with his location, a definite recipe for disaster, especially in the hitters haven known as Colorado. It's pretty clear that Hamels tried to rush back to the mound when he isn't anywhere near ready to pitch in a real game. Health wise, Hamels may be fine but his arm needs to be stretched out a lot more than it is right now. There is no word yet on whether he will make his next start.

Hamels' poor performance put the offense in a bad position yet again as they were forced to try to overcome a large deficit. The Phils managed only 7 hits in the game, 4 of them coming from Jayson Werth, who doubled and homered and scored all 3 Phillie runs.

To make a bad game even worse, Carlos Ruiz strained a muscle in his rib cage in the game and may go on the DL. The Phillies have already asked minor leaguer Lou Marson to fly out to Denver and be ready should the team need another catcher.

With the Ruiz injury and another poor performance by a starting pitcher, not much has gone right for the Phillies so far this season. It's still early, but every game in the season counts the same in the standings no matter when it's played. Hopefully another slow April start won't hurt them come September.

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