Happ/Hamels flip-flop, plus another tough loss

Folks with tickets to the July 12 game against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park will likely get to see ace lefty Cole Hamels pitch. The Phillies are planning on making a minor tweak to their rotation, moving Cole Hamels up to start Friday night against the Blue Jays. In exchange, J.A. Happ will slide from Friday to Saturday. The day off this past Monday enables the Phillies to do this while keeping Hamels on normal rest.

The reasoning is two-fold:

1) Hamels will get four more starts before the All-Star Break (Friday at Toronto, July 2 at Atlanta, July 7 versus Cincinnati, and July 12 versus Pittsburgh) instead of three (Friday at Toronto, July 3 versus the Mets, and July 8 versus the Reds).

2) Hamels will avoid experiencing a long layoff between starts over the All-Star Break, something he said caused him to grow rusty last season. If Hamels would have stayed on his normal day, he would have an eight-day gap between starts. The Phillies could theoretically use the off day next Monday to achieve the same affect, but doing it this way keeps their rotation in very much the same order.

Last year, Hamels said he felt rusty after making his second-half debut against the Marlins, thanks to two extra days off that the Phillies decided to give him.

“I think I learned something from last year,” Hamels said, “and that’s obviously something that they’ve taken into consideration, being able to throw on that last day (before the All-Star break).”


I'm sure you all are anxious to hear Jimmy Rollins explanation for his decision to flip to second base instead of throw to first in the eighth inning, which resulted in all runners reaching safely. The Rays went on to score five runs in the inning.

Well, there really isn't an explanation.

"Usually I just pick up and go to first automatically, just because the ball is hit soft toward the middle and I'm over on the pull side," Rollins said. "I don't know what to say. I really don't know."

It was a very rare miscue by the Gold Glove short stop, but it kept the Phillies from a ninth-inning in which a home run from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard or Jayson Werth would have tied the game.

Rollins' struggles at the plate also continued. He went 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last five games.