Tag: Mike Hampton

Phils unveil a whole new dimension to their problems at third base

A lot of things are going to have to go wrong a lot of days in a row to keep the Phillies out of the playoffs. That probably won’t happen, but Phillies fans would sure feel a lot better if a lot of things hadn’t gone wrong last night. With a loss to the Braves and wins by the Mets and Brewers, the Phils hold on a playoff spot is suddenly a little less secure than it was a day ago.

But much in the same way that the Phillies haven’t won anything yet, they certainly haven’t lost anything yet either. They have four games to play and lead their division by a game and a half. Despite a tough game and some mistakes last night, they’re playing fantastic baseball. They’ve won ten of their last 12.

Last night they made two big mistakes and didn’t hit well enough to overcome them. Both of the mistakes came at third base. In the third inning, Kelly Johnson left too early trying to steal third. Hamels would have had him easily, but threw the ball away and Johnson came in to score on the error. Burrell made a big base-running mistake in the sixth that probably cost the Phils a run. With the Phils down 3-2 and Burrell on second, Victorino hit a ground ball to short. Burrell took off for third with the ball in front of him and was tagged out after a short rundown.

Not to be lost in last night’s frustrations is that the Phillies pitched very well. Hamels was good and the bullpen was fantastic. The 24-year-old Hamels has now thrown 227 1/3 innings on the season and the one thing I can assure you of is that the Phillies are going to pay that bill sooner or later. Not last night, though. He was good, just like he’s been just about all of the second half. Chad Durbin, who is also critical to the Phils, also got four outs without allowing a base-runner.

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, losing 3-2 to drop to 89-69 on the season. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the Mets by 1 1/2 games. The Mets lead the Brewers by one game for the Wild Card. The Phillies have four games left to play, the Mets and Brewers each have five.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out seven.

Opponents are now hitting .274 against him in September, which is somewhat alarming in the context of his numbers over his career (it’s higher, you see). Hamels has thrown to a 2.84 ERA in his five starts this month.

Martin Prado doubled with one out in the first. Kelly Johnson was next and blooped a 2-2 pitch into center for a single. Prado scored without a throw to put the Braves up 1-0. Johnson stole second before Hamels walked Brian McCann to put men on first and second. Omar Infante popped to first for the second out. Hamels struck out Jeff Francoeur to end the frame.

Casey Kotchman started the second with a single with the game tied at 1-1. Brent Lillibridge struck out for the first out before the pitcher Mike Hampton bunted Kotchman to second. Josh Anderson was next and dribbled a ball out in front of the plate for an infield single that sent Kotchman to third, but Hamels got Prado to fly to right for the third out.

Johnson started the third with an infield single that took a bad hop on Howard. McCann flew to center for the first out before Infante singled to center, moving Johnson to second. Kotchman was next and Hamels had Johnson when Johnson took off for third too early, but threw the ball away. Johnson scored to make it 2-1 and Infante went to third. Hamels struck out Kotchman to leave Infante stranded.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 fourth and a 1-2-3 fifth.

With two outs in the sixth, Kotchman pounded the first pitch of his at-bat out to right to put the Braves up 3-1. Lillibridge popped to second for the third out.

Ruben Gotay hit for Hampton to start the seventh and singled, but Hamels got the next three in order to leave him stranded. Rollins made a nice play for the first out of the inning — Anderson broke his bat and blooped a ball behind the mound, but Rollins made a nice play to get him at first and changed the inning.

Eyre started the eighth with the Phils down 3-2 and got McCann to ground to second for the first out. Durbin came in to pitch to the righty Infante and got him on a ground ball to third. Francoeur popped to short for the third out.

Durbin returned for the ninth and got the first two before switch-hitter Greg Norton hit for the pitcher Jeff Bennett. Romero came in to pitch to Norton and struck him out swinging to end the frame.

Two perfect innings for the pen. It was especially nice to see Durbin pitch well. He dropped his ERA for the month to 7.94 with a scoreless 1 1/3 innings. Durbin threw 12 pitches in the game, Eyre and Romero were both under five. The pen needed just 20 pitches to throw two perfect innings.

With the day off tomorrow, Manuel may have everyone in his pen available for tonight’s game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Mike Hampton went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third against the lefty. Ruiz catches.

Utley singled with one out in the first and the Phils down 1-0. Werth hit into a double-play behind him.

Howard started the second with a single and Burrell walked behind him. Victorino was next and he hit into a double-play with Howard moving to third with two down. Feliz was next and lined a 1-0 pitch into right to score Howard and tie the game at 1-1. Ruiz grounded to second for the third out.

Utley doubled with two outs in the third. Werth was next and hit a ball to second that Johnson didn’t handle for an error that moved Utley to third. Howard walked to load the bases, but Burrell popped to third to leave the bases loaded.

Ruiz walked with two outs in the fourth. Hamels struck out to end the inning.

1-2-3 in the fifth.

Down 3-1 in the sixth, Howard led off and tripled into the right field corner. Burrell was next and blasted a double off the wall in center. Howard scored and it was 3-2. Victorino was next and hit a ground ball to short. Miserable base-running by Burrell got him caught as he took off for third and tagged out for the second out. Victorino was caught stealing for the second out before Feliz grounded to third to end the inning.

Yuck. The Phils gave away two outs on the bases in the inning.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Coste hit for Hamels and flew to right for the second out.

Howard walked with two outs in the eighth. Burrell grounded to third to end the inning.

Feliz walked with one out in the ninth. Golson ran for him at first. With the lefty Mike Gonzalez on the mound, Ruiz hit for himself and hit into a double-play to end the game.

It’s tough to watch Ruiz hit in that situation. Righties on the bench for the Phils were Bruntlett, Cevernak, Iguchi, Taguchi and Marson. My initial reaction was that the Phils should have hit Iguchi and let Marson catch the tenth if it happened. I would have done it, just because I think Iguchi is a good hitter and Ruiz is a bad hitter, but the numbers don’t really support that. Iguchi is hitting a miserable 169/256/221 against lefties this season. Ruiz 215/354/338.

It does illustrate a flaw in the Phillies roster — they need to have a better right-handed hitter available to them late in the game. Especially in games when Coste starts behind the plate.

Rollins was 0-for-4.

Utley 2-for-4 with a double. He’s 4-for-his-last-10 with two doubles and a homer.

Werth 0-for-4 with a strikeout. 2-for-his-last-22 with two singles. The Phillies are going to have to do something about Werth, but probably not tonight with a lefty on the mound.

Howard was 2-for-2 with a triple and two walks.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a double, a walk and four men left on base. Big mistake on the bases.

Victorino 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a caught stealing.

Feliz 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Big two-out hit in the second.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk.

Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46) faces lefty Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74) tonight. Over his last two starts, Reyes has gone 5 1/3 innings and allowed nine runs on 12 hits (including four homers) and two walks. He has a 9.00 ERA since the All-Star break. Righties are hitting .315 against him for the season. Myers got bombed on Friday against the Marlins, allowing ten run in four innings in just about his only bad start in an otherwise excellent second half of the season. He has a 2.77 ERA with a 1.09 ratio in 13 starts at home this season. In his 16 starts away from Citizens Bank Park he’s thrown to a 6.21 ERA with a 1.61 ratio.

Big game tonight for the Phils. A loss would make things interesting in a way you’re not really looking for.

Better make that 32 good swings a year

I think the notion that Pat Burrell is only good for thirty good swings a year is absurd. Whether you agree or not, it’s hard to deny that he came up with a big swing last night. Every day seems to bring a new hero for the Phils, and last night it was the slumping Burrell’s turn. With one out and a man on first in the sixth inning of a 2-2 game, Burrell lined a 3-2 pitch from Mike Hampton out to left to put the Phils on top to stay.

Cole Hamels gave the Phils another solid start. The 24-year-old has now thrown an NL-leading 220 1/3 innings on the season. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts (in his start before that he allowed three runs, two of which were unearned).

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 4-3 to improve to 86-67 on the season. They sweep the three-game series and have won seven games in a row for the first time this year. They are 19 games above .500 for the first time since June 25, 1995 — they were 37-18 at the time and went 32-57 the rest of the way to end the season at 69-75 (the season was shortened due to the strike in ’94).

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out five.

He started the first with a 2-0 lead. He got the first two before Chipper Jones drew a walk. Brian McCann was next and the lefty blasted a 3-2 pitch off the wall in right for a double that scored Jones and cut the lead to 2-1. Omar Infante grounded back to Hamels to end the inning.

Casey Kotchman led off the first and again a lefty hurt Hamels. Kotchman drove a 1-1 pitch out to right-center to tie the game at 2-2. Hamels got the next three.

Martin Prado started the third with a single and Kelly Johnson bunted him to second. Chipper grounded to short before McCann walked to put men on first and second. Infante again grounded back to the pitcher to set Atlanta down.

Jeff Francoeur singled with one out in the fourth. Hamels struck out Josh Anderson and the pitcher Mike Hampton behind him.

Chipper doubled with two outs in the fifth. McCann grounded to third to leave him stranded.

Hamels started the sixth up 4-2. Infante led off with a single and went to second on a ground out by Kotchman and third on another by Francoeur. Anderson struck out swinging to leave him at third.

With two outs in the seventh, Johnson hit a ball to Howard that Howard flubbed for what should have been an error, but Johnson was given a hit. Pretty routine play for Howard, who had to come off the bag but should have made the play. Just an absurd call that allows Johnson to keep up a hit streak. Hamels walked Jones to put men on first and second before McCann hit a ground ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. This one allowed Jones to score and cut the lead to 4-3. Brent Lillibridge ran for McCann at first at the tying run and went to second on a wild pitch. Infante popped to Feliz to end the inning.

Romero pitched the eighth up a run. He got the first two before Anderson beat out an infield single to third. Yunel Escobar hit for the pitcher Julian Tavarez and popped to Utley in foul territory for the third out.

Lidge started the ninth and struck out Prado on three pitches for the first out. Johnson was next and got ahead 3-0 before he grounded a 3-2 pitch to Howard for the second out. Chipper was next and Lidge struck him out with a 1-2 slider to end the game.

Three innings for the pen in which they allow two hits and a walk and looked real solid. Madson allows a run that is unearned, but almost completely the fault of faulty defense behind him. Nice to see Romero throw a whole inning — the Phils are going to need him before it’s over for sure. Lidge looked much, much better. Madson threw 18 pitches, Lidge 13 and Romero 11.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Mike Hampton went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third against the lefty. Ruiz catches.

Utley singled with one out in the first. Werth was next and doubled to center, going to third on an error by Anderson as Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard hit a sac fly to left that scored Werth and made it 2-0. Burrell grounded to first for the third out.

Ruiz doubled with two outs in the second, but Hamels grounded to first behind him.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.

Victorino walked with two outs in the fourth. Feliz was next and dumped a single into center that moved Victorino to third. Ruiz grounded to third to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth, but Utley hit into a double-play behind him.

Werth started the sixth with a ground ball to third, but Chipper’s throw to first was bad and Werth was safe on the error. Howard was next and grounded to second with Werth forced at second for the first out. Burrell got ahead 2-0 before he lined a 3-2 pitch out to left for a two-run homer, putting the Phils up 4-2. Victorino followed with a double and Feliz was walked intentionally. Ruiz lined to third for the second out and Jones threw to first to double-off Feliz to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Tad Iguchi hit for Hamels to start the inning, getting his first at-bat of the year as a Phillie, and Hampton got him to fly to center.

Howard walked with one out in the eighth. A single by Burrell moved him to second. Bruntlett ran for Burrell at first, but Victorino struck out and Feliz grounded to third to leave both runners stranded.

Rollins walked with two outs in the ninth. Utley grounded out behind him.

Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 278/347/440 for the year. He’s hitting 338/427/492 in September.

Utley was 1-for-5 in the game. 2-for-13 with a double in the series. 287/376/528 for the year. 237/324/322 for the month.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the game. 6-for-12 with two doubles, a homer and two walks in the series. He seems to be doing just fine playing every day. 283/379/521 for the year.

Howard 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. 5-for-10 with a triple, a home run, three walks and five RBI in the series. 248/337/534.

Werth and Howard, the new hear of the Phillies order, combine to go 11-for-22 with five walks in the series.

Burrell 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 3-for-13 in the series. 252/367/510 for the year.

Victorino 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. 7-for-12 with two doubles in the series but just one RBI, which is in large part due to Burrell’s struggles. Victorino is red hot, 11-for-his-last-16, and not driving in runs because of where’s he’s hitting in the lineup. 289/351/434 for the year.

Feliz 1-for-3 with a walk in the game. 1-for-10 with three walks in the series. 250/302/400 for the year. Dobbs drew a walk in his only plate appearance of the series. He’s hitting 292/327/467 for the year. The walk was his only one in his last 42 at-bats.

Ruiz 1-for-4 in the game and left four men on base. 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and two walks in the series. 229/326/313 for the year. 294/368/500 for the year. Coste was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 268/326/434 for the year.

Brett Myers (10-11, 4.06) faces righty Josh Johnson (5-1, 3.30) tonight. Johnson has faced the Phils twice this season, holding them to a pair of runs over 12 2/3 innings. Moyer has a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio in his 11 starts since the All-Star break.

Big bats, big pen help rally Phils past their ace

If the Phillies needed some life from their bats and some help from their bullpen, they got both yesterday. Cole Hamels gave up nine runs in the fourth inning, but the Phils roared back with seven in the fifth. Greg Dobbs capped the rally with a three-run homer that put the Phils up to stay at 10-9. After Hamels couldn’t make it through the fourth, six Phillies’ relievers combined to toss 5 1/3 shutout innings.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves yesterday afternoon, winning 10-9 to improve to 55-49 on the season.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine runs on six hits and three walks. Only four of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out two.

He walked Yunel Escobar with one out in the first, but Mark Teixeira hit into a double-play behind him.

Brian McCann led off the second with a single, but Hamels got he next three.

He threw a 1-2-3 third.

The fourth started with the Phils up 3-0. Didn’t end that way. Escobar led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Teixeira. A walk to McCann loaded the bases for Omar Infante. Infante doubled to left and two runs scored. 3-2 with men on second and third. Jeff Francoeur flew to left for the first out and McCann tagged and scored to tie the game at 3-3 with Infante holding second. Martin Prado hit a ground ball to second that Utley didn’t handle for an error. Infante went to third. Mark Kotsay ripped a single into right and Infante scored to make it 4-3. With men on first and second pitcher Mike Hampton hit a ball back to Hamels that Hamels threw into left-center. Odd choice. Prado scored and Kotsay went to third with Atlanta up 5-3. Gregor Blanco was next and put down a beautiful bunt that went passed Hamels and had to be fielded by Utley. Utley had no chance and Blanco had a single. Kotsay scored (6-3) and Hampton went to second. Escobar flew to right for the second out before Teixeira hit an 0-1 pitch out to left-center for a three-run shot that made it 9-3. Seanez came in and got the lefty McCann to pop to second.

Pretty frustrating inning for Hamels with the error by Utley, his own error and the pretty bunt by Blanco. He didn’t respond real well. In the inning he allowed two walks, three singles, a double and a home run. Teixeira’s shot looked like it had put the game out reach in the fourth inning.

Eaton started the fifth, making his first appearance since July 12. Francoeur singled with one out before Prado flew to right for the second. Kotsay singled on a ball behind Rollins, but Rollins threw Francoeur out going for third to end the frame.

Madson started the sixth with the Phils up 10-9. Kelly Johnson led off with a walk. Blanco flew out for the first out before Madson walked Escobar. Teixeira went down looking before McCann walked on four pitches to load the bases with two down. Infante flew to right for the third out.

Durbin pitched the seventh. With one out, Greg Norton hit for pitcher Will Ohman and singled. Kotsay followed with a walk, but Durbin got the next two to end the frame.

Escobar led off the eighth with a single off of Durbin. Romero came in to pitch and set down Teixeira, McCann and Infante to leave him stranded. Great job by Romero against Teixeira and McCann.

Coming off a miserable game on Friday, Lidge threw a 1-2-3 ninth.

The pen goes 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and four walks. Madson and Durbin bend but don’t break. Romero pitched for the third straight day, Lidge his second and Durbin his second. Madson threw 27 pitches, Durbin 22. Everyone else was under 15.

Mike Hampton, just off the DL, and not Jo-Jo Reyes, got the start for the Braves. The Phillies’ lineup against the lefty went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Werth (7) Bruntlett (8) Coste. Victorino stays in the two spot against the lefty, maybe because Bruntlett is in the lineup and maybe not. Werth plays right against the lefty. Bruntlett at third for Feliz, who was scratched Friday with back problems. Coste catches, which is unusual for a start made by Hamels (and the results for Hamels weren’t so good).

Rollins led off the first with a single. Victorino and Utley went down behind him before Rollins was caught stealing second to end the inning.

Howard walked to start the second and moved to third when Burrell followed with a double. Werth grounded to third for the first out with the runners holding. Bruntlett was walked intentionally to load the bases and Coste lined a 1-2 pitch into left-center for a single that scored Howard and Burrell and put the Phils up 2-0. Hamels bunted the runners to second and third, but Rollins grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.

Victorino led off the third with a triple and scored when Utley followed with a sac fly to right. 3-0. Howard and Burrell went down behind him.

Down 9-3 in the fourth, Coste doubled with two outs. Taguchi hit for Seanez and flew to center.

Rollins, Victorino and Utley loaded the bases with singles to start the fifth. Howard singled to center and Rollins and Victorino scored, cutting the lead to 9-5 with men on first and third. Burrell hit a sac fly to center and Utley tagged and scored. 9-6 with one out and a man on first. Werth singled before Bruntlett flew to center for the second out. Coste singled to right and Howard scored to make it 9-7 with Werth moving to third. With righty Blaine Boyer on the mound, Dobbs hit for Eaton and hit a 1-2 pitch out to right to put the Phils up 10-9. Rollins tried to bunt for a hit but was thrown out by Boyer to end the inning.

1-2-3 sixth a 1-2-3 seventh.

With one out in the eighth and righty Julian Tavarez pitching for Atlanta, Jenkins hit for Romero and drew a walk. Rollins and Victorino went down behind him.

Rollins was 2-for-5 and started the rally in the fifth.

Victorino 2-for-5 with a triple. He’s slugging .580 in July.

Utley 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Howard 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBI.

Burrell 1-for-3 with a double.

Werth 1-for-4.

Bruntlett 0-for-3 with a walk.

Coste 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI.

Dobbs had the biggest hit of the game, his third home run of the year.

Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.08) faces righty Jorge Campanillo (5-4, 2.83) this afternoon. Opponents are hitting .230 against Campanillo, lefites just .196. The Phillies have hit him hard this year. He’s made four appearances against the Phils this season, two of which are starts, and the Phils are hitting .368 against him. Blanton didn’t pitch well in his Phillies debut, allowing a pair of two-run homers as he gave up five runs in six innings against the Mets on Tuesday.

Ready, set, Brave

The Atlanta Braves start May at 12-15. Colin from Braves Blast took the time to answer some questions about what’s going on with the Braves these days.

What do you see as the most significant developments for the Braves since the start of the season?

There are several significant developments since the start of the season. First, Bobby Cox and Frank Wren look like magicians trading Edgar Renteria away. Both Jair Jurrjens, whom the Braves got in return for Renteria, and Yunel Escobar, who replaced Renteria at short, are playing like regulars. Jurrjens may be the most stable arm on the pitching staff right now, and Escobar is batting .297 with 11 RBIs and is showing great plate discipline for a youngster with 14 walks. Second, we’ve seen our starting rotation show its age a LOT faster than we thought it would. Smoltz is on the DL for the second time, Glavine just got activated from the DL, and Hampton is being… well… Hampton. This has proven Jair Jurrjens to be even more valuable. If you haven’t seen him pitch yet, you don’t want to face him – his two or four seam fastball gets up to 96, his slider is good, and his changeup as absolutely devastating.

Even with all the injuries, the Braves are among the top teams in the NL in runs scored. They have also been among the best teams in the NL overall at preventing runs. Still, their record is probably not the start the many fans were expecting or hoping for. Any thoughts on why a team that seems to be able to both score and prevent runs so effectively is having trouble getting wins?

Our offense is very, very potent. There’s no doubt about that. And we can prevent runs too (sometimes, if the bullpen is on) – but the killer is our offense is either very hot or very cold. As a result, we’ve lost a LOT of one-run games. We’re 0-9 this season in one-run games. It’s quite frustrating that we haven’t been able to pull one of those out yet. Even if just under half of those go our way, we’d be tied for first in the division. The top of the order really is a catalyst for the offense, and Kelly Johnson at leadoff is a very streaky hitter. Mark Teixeira is just warming up for the season with his right-handed swing still not being as hot as his left-handed swing. Once he gets going, the offense will be even better.

Are the Braves going to be able to overcome the loss of Peter Moylan in the bullpen? How will they adjust to his absence?

The loss of Moylan is a blow – we labeled him as one of the main five keys to the Braves bullpen being strong this season. That said, it’s not something we can’t recover from. Jorge Campillo has been strong in middle relief for the Braves since we brought him up from AAA Richmond. Manny Acosta is also working out well and picking up some innings. The bigger key is getting back Rafael Soriano from the DL – he’s had elbow tendinitis issues, and we need a strong, healthy closer. If Smoltz can’t return to the starting rotation, he’s said he’d go close for us – and we all know he’s not someone anyone wants to face in the ninth.

Is Mark Kotsay going to play well enough to keep his job in center field for the whole season? Are there any position players in danger of losing regular playing time?

Kotsay is not in any danger of losing his starting job – though he did have some back issues (uh oh) that kept him out of the lineup last week a couple times. Not good to see. That said, Matt Diaz was benched a few games in a row last week and Gregor Blanco got the start in left field. He’s since rebounded and is batting .295. I don’t think anyone else is in danger of losing their starting spot.

With Glavine and Hampton returning from injuries it looks like the rotation for the time being is Smoltz/Hudson/Glavine/Jurrjens/Hampton with Chuck James as the sixth guy who will come up from the minors if one of them goes down. Is that how you see the rotation? Is there anyone else in the mix?

The lineup no longer has Smoltz at the front, at least not for 15 days. He has tendinitis in his biceps and an inflamed rotator cuff. So now it’s Hudson/Glavine/Jurrjens/James/Jeff Bennett. If (big if – nobody counts on him anymore) Hampton comes back from his rehab starts in one piece, he’ll bump Bennett back to the ‘pen. The other arms we have that can start include Buddy Carlyle and Jo-Jo Reyes. Jo-Jo has great stuff in the minors but he can’t make the transition from pitching down there to pitching in Atlanta. We’ve got to get Smoltzie healthy and keep Glavine healthy. Hudson hasn’t been lights out recently either, which isn’t good. I know I’ve said it before, but watch this Jurrjens kid. He’s only 22, but he pitches like he’s been in the big leagues for much longer. Nobody has anything but good stuff to stay about him.

Thanks a lot to Colin. If you don’t read it regularly, be sure to check out Braves Blast, where today they are discussing the possibility that Smoltz returns to the team as a reliever.

Colin also wrote this morning to point out that since he wrote his answers yesterday Hampton has re-strained his pectoral muscle in a rehab start. Always something.

I also answered some questions from Colin about the Phils here.

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