The most impressive part of Cole Hamels' performance last night was his new-found ability to shrug off an early home run, stick to his game plan, mix in four pitches and throw strikes. With all four cylinders clicking, Hamels improved to 5-2, dropped his ERA below 4, and stopped the Boston Red Sox cold.
The only negative in last night's victory occurred when Jimmy Rollins apparently reinjured his calf. All along we were told calve injuries are difficult to come back from given the high incidence of recurrence. Who is to say if this were the case. We can say the Phils missed his presence but managed to produce the second best overall record in baseball without it. They should proceed even more cautiously going forward because half a JRoll is no good.
The other issue involved the bullpen committee. Last night it was Danys Baez' and JC Romero's turns and the results were an adventure to say the least. If David Ortiz had been a hair more out in front of the last pitch of the game, it would have been a grand salami to right, tying the score. But he wasn't. Still, the two relievers had everyone moving forward half a foot on their seats.
The win over the Red Sox was particularly satisfying since they have become one of the true Evil Empires of baseball.