Location, location, location.
Just like real estate, if a pitcher wants to occupy prime status he's got to locate his pitches. Yesterday, Cole Hamels heeded this advice and pitched a masterful game in staving off a Boston sweep.
The only mistake Hamels made was a cutter over the plate that Andrian Beltre parked just this side of the CITGO sign. Otherwise, Hamels stuck to his fastball and changeup and kept Boston off guard all day. It didn't hurt that Cole was reaching the mid-nineties on his fastball, but the real key to his success was being able to put the ball on the corners when he needed to.
Meanwhile, the offense wasn't exactly scintillating, but it did put together a four run outburst against nemesis Tim Wakefield, tacked on another run late and held on for a 5-3 victory. It would be foolish to assert the Phutiles' slumbering bats have come alive after one inning of work, but at this juncture you take what you can get.
The only down note was the continued futility of Chase Utley, now in the most prolonged slump of his career. No one but Chase knows what might lie behind the ineptitude but one thing is clear: he isn't getting good swings and he isn't hitting the ball with authority.
Things don't get easier as the Phils move on to NY and a rematch against their World Series foes from 2009.