The story in today's Inquirer of Tuesday's 4-1 Phillies win centers around Raul Ibanez ending his hitless streak because, well, how many times will we see something like that again? (I have a feeling I know what the first comment on this entry will be.)
Charlie Manuel made the first drastic changes to his lineup for Game 28. He kept Ibanez in there and the left fielder rewarded him. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino combined for the dynamic duo at the top of the lineup Manuel says his team sorely needs.
Oh, and Cole Hamels pitched a complete game, hit a triple and scored a run.
He was fantastic on the mound, locating all of his pitches.
Should Jimmy Rollins stay in the leadoff spot for the Phillies?
(As for the triple, Hamels said he knew it wasn't out of the park when he hit it off the end of the bat. Manuel said he was trying to will it out of the park and predicted Hamels will hit a home run one of these days. Hamels said he'd like that home run to be in the second deck and not just over the fence, like Tuesday's ball appeared to be headed.)
In the five starts since his disastrous beginning against the Mets, Hamels has won four. The Phillies have won all five. His season, excluding start No. 1:
38 IP, 24 H, 6 ER, 8 BB, 37 K, 2 HR, 1.42 ERA
"I'm keeping the same mentality I had last year," Hamels said.
If you'll recall, that was a very good one. After the calendar turned from April to May, Hamels had a 2.68 ERA in 178 innings. His ERA in April was 5.28 in 30 2/3 innings.
He threw both his fastball and changeup with conviction Tuesday. As usual, most of the opposition's swings and misses came on the change (six of 26 times he threw it). An astonishing 23 of his 26 changes were for strikes.
He used his curveball just twice, causing one swing and a miss. He threw the cutter 16 times, 10 for strikes.
His command was on for all four pitches.
"Early on I was hitting my spots," Hamels said. "If I do that, I know I can go further."
He did that, and more.
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