Cole Hamels was fantastic last night, which is what it’s going to take to get a win for the Phils these days. The Phillies took two of three in their series against the Dodgers, but scored just seven runs in the set. In the two games they won, Lee and Hamels combined to throw 15 shutout innings and strike out 19.
Quick — who’s been the best starting pitcher for the Phillies this year? Okay, you said Halladay and you’re right. But it’s closer than you might think. In their first 13 starts on the year, Halladay and Hamels have almost the same ERA, 2.58 for Hamels and 2.56 for Halladay, while Hamels has thrown to an 0.95 ratio compared to Halladay’s 1.07. Hamels is second in the NL in innings pitched, but Halladay has gone deeper in his starts, averaging more than 7 1/2 innings per start while Hamels is just under seven.
Since an ugly outing his first start of the year, Hamels has thrown to a 2.05 ERA with an 0.88 ratio over his last 12 outings.
The Phillies are 37-25 on the year after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 last night. The Phils take the series two games to one. They are in first place in the NL East, three games ahead of the Braves.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went eight shutout innings, allowing six five singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out nine.
Dee Gordon was the first batter of the game and he flew to left for the first out. Hamels struck Casey Blake out swinging 2-2 for the second before Andre Ethier reached on an infield single. Hamels struck Matt Kemp out swinging 2-2 to leave Ethier at first.
He threw a 1-2-3 second, getting Juan Uribe to pop to Howard in foul territory for the first out, Marcus Thames on a ground ball to third for the second and striking Rod Barajas out swinging for the third.
In the third he struck Jamey Carroll out swinging for the first out and got pitcher Hiroki Kuroda on a ground ball he handled himself for the second. Gordon flew to center to end the frame.
He struck out Blake and got two ground outs in the fourth.
Barajas singled to center with two outs in the fifth, but Hamels got Carroll on a ball that Howard handled in foul territory to leave him stranded.
Hamels struck out Kuroda and Gordon as he set the Dodgers down in order in the sixth.
He started the seventh up 1-0. Ethier led off with a double to right and moved to third when Kemp followed with a single to right. Hamels got out of it, though, getting Uribe on a pop that Martinez handled in shallow right, striking Thames out swinging 1-2 and then getting Barajas to pop to short.
It was 2-0 when he started the eighth. Carroll flew to right for the first out and switch-hitter Aaron Miles hit for the pitcher Matt Guerrier. Miles singled to center. Gordon was due to hit next and James Loney hit for him, flying to left for the second out. Blake was next and hit a ball to short. Valdez fielded and threw to first, but his throw was wide on the home plate side. Howard came off the bag and looked like he could have handled it, but didn’t. Blake had a single and Valdez was charged with an error that let Miles move up to third. With two outs and men on first and third, Hamels got Ethier on a ground ball to first base with Howard flipping to Hamels covering.
Twice in two innings Hamels gets out of a jam to keep the shutout intact. Howard could have handled the throw from Valdez.
Madson started the ninth. Kemp thought he had walked on a close 3-1 pitch that might have been low, but then singled to right. Uribe was next and hit a ball back up the middle, but it went off the tip of Madson’s glove and right to Martinez. Martinez tagged second and threw to first to complete the double-play. Switch-hitter Dioner Navarro hit for Thames and flew to Victorino to end the game.
Madson has pitched just one day in a row, but three of the last four days. He threw 16 pitches in the game.
The Phillies lineup against righty Hiroki Kuroda went (1) Victorino (2) Brown (3) Polanco (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Ruiz (7) Valdez (8) Martinez. Utley on the bench with a righty on the mound after an ugly game with the glove the night before. Martinez at second. Valdez plays short with Rollins sidelined with the bruised knee. Brown moves up to second in the order with Polanco dropping to third. Martinez and Valdez is a really bad middle infield.
Victorino, Brown and Polanco all hit the ball well in the bottom of the first, but all three flew to right.
Ruiz walked with two outs in the second. Valdez struck out looking behind him to leave him stranded.
Kuroda struck out Martinez, Hamels and Victorino, all swinging, in the third.
Polanco singled with one out in the fourth and stole second as Howard struck out for the second out. Ibanez flew to left to leave him there.
Martinez ripped a triple into right field with two outs in the fifth and Hamels walked behind him. Kuroda’s 2-1 pitch to Victorino was behind the batter and went all the way to the wall. Martinez started to go home, then returned to third base. He probably would have scored, because Barajas’s throw to the covering Kuroda hit Victorino. Hamels took second on the wild pitch, so the Dodgers walked Victorino intentionally, loading the bases. Brown flew to Ethier in right-center to leave the bases loaded.
Polanco struck out to start the sixth. Howard was next and hit the first pitch he saw out to right, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ibanez followed that with a double to center and that was it for Kuroda. LA brought right Mike MacDougal in to pitch to Ruiz and Ruiz walked. Valdez struck out for the second out and Martinez went down on a ball handled by the pitcher, leaving the runners stranded.
Two extra-base hits in the same inning for the Phils. I would have brought in another pitcher, too.
Victorino tripled to center with one out in the seventh. Brown was next and hit a ball to Carroll at second. Victorino came home and Carroll threw home, but the throw was on the first base side of home plate and Victorino slid in safely. 2-0. Brown stole second, went to third on a ground out by Polanco and was left at third when Howard flew to right.
The Phils went in order in the eighth.
Victorino was 1-for-3 with a triple in the game and 1-for-9 with three walks in the series. He’s hitting 270/340/472 for the year. 4-for-23 since returning from the DL.
Brown was 0-for-4 with an RBI. 1-for-11 with a walk and an RBI in the series. He’s 4-for-his-last-24 and hitting 263/317/404 in 63 plate appearances for the season.
Polanco was 1-for-4. 2-for-11 with a walk in the series. 314/362/388 for the year. 252/299/288 since the end of April.
Howard 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts. 2-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series. 244/325/479 for the year. He’s 6-for-his-last-32.
Ibanez 1-for-4 with a double. 2-for-9 with a double in the series. 241/292/414 on the year. Of the 70 NL players with at least 200 plate appearances, Ibanez’s .705 OPS is 50th (Rollins’ .701 is 52nd).
Ruiz was 0-for-2 and walked twice. 3-for-9 with a double and three walks in the series. 242/361/348 for the year. 292/433/396 over his last 60 plate appearances.
Valdez was 0-for-4 with a throwing error and struck out twice. It took a nice bare-handed play by Kuroda coming off the mound to get him for the second out in the fifth. 3-for-11 with a double and three strikeouts in the series. 246/287/303 on the year.
Martinez was 1-for-3 with his first career triple in his only action of the series. He’s hitting 189/214/245 in 57 plate appearances for the season. Among the 202 NL players with at least 50 plate appearances, his .214 on-base percentage is 199th. Rollins didn’t play yesterday and was 0-for-1 in the series. He’s hitting 267/338/362 for the year and 237/276/330 over his last 105 plate appearances.
Kendrick (3-4, 3.78) faces righty Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74) and the Cubs tonight. Wells has made just three starts on the season. He pitched well against the Diamondbacks in his first start of the year on April 4, but went on the DL two days later with a strained forearm. He’s made two starts since returning from the DL and neither have been that impressive as he’s allowed nine runs in 9 2/3 innings. Kendrick has made three starts on the year and two of them have been bad. He hasn’t gotten an out in the sixth inning in any of his three starts. He has a 6.23 ERA in his three starts and a 2.21 ERA in his 13 relief appearances.