Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let's Play Two In One

The Phils played an unofficial doubleheader last night, jumping all over Florida for a 10-0 lead behind another dominating effort from Cole Hamels and then hanging on in the final innings when the Fish scored six runs before folding their tents. All six runs came off Nate Robertson, pitching for his third and likely last team in 2010 and beyond.

Charlie Manuel certainly expected to use the second and third-stringers to mop this one up, but when Florida closed to 10-6 he had to call on the cavalry for the final outs. After all, everyone knows a lead is not safe in Citizens Bank Park, especially when the free-swingers from South Florida are providing the opposition.

The game was marked by the continued offensive outburst of all the Phils especially but not only Mr. September, Ryan Howard, who drove in six runs. The game was also marked by another injury to Jimmy Rollins, who pulled up lame after hitting a double and having to pour it on at the end to reach second base. Frankly, hamstring injuries have always puzzled me. I can certainly imagine an injury for putting undue stress on the hammy, but when someone is putting on a burst of speed suddenly that hardly seems to qualify as "undue stress". Are players like Rollins failing to keep in good shape? In his case there have already been two trips to the DL this season alone, so one would think he would be particularly diligent about his condition. (After the game, Manual said Jimmy was dehydrated. That's an even easier condition to avoid.) The injury also will raise red flags going forward in Rollins' case when his contract expires after next season. The decline in his offensive numbers coupled with recurring injuries is going to give the Phillies pause. It isn't as if he's old, but the miles are piling up.

Meanwhile, Cole Hamels evened his record at 10-10, making him not only the best .500 pitcher in all of baseball but one of the best period. He extended his scoreless string to 25 innings, no mean feat under any circumstances but particularly impressive when the homer-happy Marlins are in town.

After a day off, the Phils play the dysfunctional Mets in NY this weekend. The Mets would love to knock off the Phils, who will be sending both Roys sandwiched around a starter TBD to the mound.

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