Last night we saw the new and old Cole Hamels. He pitched well enough but as he did too often in the past surrendered two home runs that were his undoing. Of course, conventional wisdom has it he would have fared better had he received decent support, but these days decent support is a rare commodity.
What a strange series we had this weekend. Two Phillies pitchers struck out a lot of Atlanta batters -- 16 in one game, nine in another -- and lost anyway. One Phillie pitcher not expected to start except as an emergency fill-in pitched surprisingly well and won.
The one consistent feature throughout the weekend was an anemic offense that squandered whatever opportunities it had. As the Phils advance deeper into the season and begin to see better pitching than they did during the first four weeks of the season, the futility of Ibanez, Francisco, the second-base combo, whichever catcher is in there at the moment and the erratic plate discipline of Rollins and Howard are all going to take their toll on the starting staff.
Atlanta took two of three from the Phils. They are the real competition for the Phils' four-year reign atop the NL East.