- Cole Hamels threw one of his best games of the season, holding the Nationals to just one run over eight innings. Hamels put the team behind early after allowing a solo home run to Jayson Werth in the second inning, but that was his only big mistake.
- Hamels worked quickly, and avoided going through any long innings. He was around the strike zone, didn’t walk any batters, and was simply on top of his game tonight.
- The lefty finished his night by working out of a major jam in the eighth. Hamels loaded the bases with just one out, but fought through the heart of the Washington lineup, striking out Ryan Zimmerman and forcing Werth to fly out to center with a full count.
- Domonic Brown tied the game in the second inning with a two-out RBI single, scoring Chase Utley who doubled in the previous at-bat.
- Brown missed another RBI opportunity later in the game. The outfielder had runners at the corners with no outs in the sixth inning, but popped up to short.
- In the past, the greatest asset to Carlos Ruiz’s game has been his ability to hit in the clutch. This year, he’s been anything but. The timely hits just haven’t been there. Yesterday, Ruiz left six men on base. Today, the catcher hit into a double play with none out and two on in the fifth inning.
- Ben Revere had another multi-hit game. Revere has hit in seven consecutive games, and 10 of the last 11. Eight of those games have been multi-hit ones, with four of them being three-hit efforts. The centerfielder has been much more productive in the last few weeks.
- Revere scored a go-ahead run the sixth inning, after Chase Utley was safe an on error.
- Michael Young delivered a big blow in the sixth, driving in two runs with his 15th double of the year. However, Young was thrown out on the play trying to advance to third base.
- Darin Ruf went 1-3 with a single and two strikeouts.
- Jonathan Papelbon was unable to pitch the ninth inning after appearing in four of the previous five games, so Charlie Manuel went to Antonio Bastardo for the save. Bastardo went through a long inning, tossing 25 pitches and allowing a run, but the lefty did manage to record to save.
Cole Hamels may finally be shaking off his season-long slump. The lefty has now had two strong starts in a row, and looks like he may finally be rounding into top form.
The importance of this series and this homestand can’t be overstated, and every game is critical. This was a night where Hamels absolutely had to bring his best stuff to the ballpark. With Jonathan Papelbon pitching on fumes, the Phillies really needed the guy who was supposed to be their ace to eat some serious innings and do everything in his power to give the team a great chance to win.
The eighth inning was a great moment for Hamels. We’ve seen Cole get frustrated and lose his cool when things don’t go his way at times during the year, but he didn’t cave tonight. Instead, he put the adversity out of his head, took the fight to the opposing lineup, and came out on top.
Hamels delivered tonight. It was the best we’ve seen him pitch all year, and the fact that he’s beginning to make a strong positive contribution to the team is huge. For most of the season, the former World Series MVP hasn’t been making a difference every fifth day. He wasn’t shutting teams down, and he wasn’t going deep into games. A typical Hamels start this year has the 29-year old throwing over 100 pitches through six innings, giving up 2-4 runs, and taking a loss.
Cole’s last two starts have been different. He’s finally starting to get through innings quickly again, and he’s rediscovering his top form. If he can sustain this level of play, it could make a serious difference for the team moving forward if they can count on ace-quality pitching from number 35 again.