MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- A 14-2 drubbing will make what the winning team's starter does quite irrelevant, thus there was not much attention devoted to Cole Hamels on Tuesday.
That's just what the Phillies wanted.
Hamels, who deals in self-depricating humor, was funny afterward. The 27-year-old lefty is so accustomed to pitching in tight games where every mistake is magnified. Finally, he had a game in which he could relax.
"Getting that many runs – it’s nice, but at the same time it kind of breaks up your rhythm," Hamels said. "It felt like the game was kind of in slow motion. In between innings was really long. Our offense did what it was supposed to do but selfishly you just want to get in that pitching rhythm and get out there and try to shut them down as fast as possible."
Alternate title for this post: Selfish Cole Hamels wants team to score fewer runs for him.
In all seriousness, it was a quality night for Hamels. Not only did he allow two runs in eight innings, but he proved his bruised right hand is of no concern.
"I know with the one comebacker that I got, I didn’t even think about it. Just went and got it and threw it, and by the time I threw him out, I was like, 'Oh, OK, it didn’t hurt.'"
He also swung once at the 22 pitches he saw while hitting. There were no directions from the coaching staff to not swing. Hamels was simply being cautious.
"No, I was trying to take care of myself," he said.
Hamels will make one more start before the All-Star break on the final day of the first half, Sunday against Atlanta. He will not pitch in the All-Star Game.
The Phillies say they will make a decision on Shane Victorino's status within the next two days, but I have a feeling that window could be extended.
The injury comes at a fortuitous time in the schedule. Four days off begin Monday. Victorino last played Sunday, when he sprained his right thumb. Disabled list rules say a team can backdate a stint 10 days, meaning the Phillies can milk the clock until July 13 -- a week from today.
If they know Victorino will need at least two weeks, then they can disable him immediately. If they don't know for sure, they can wait. By not needing a fifth starter, they have already added an extra bat in John Mayberry Jr. Going with 24 players this weekend would not kill them; who, exactly, would the call-up be for Victorino? Josh Barfield? Brandon Moss? Pete Orr?
That's why the Phillies could wait out Victorino's injury. The Grade I sprain is the least severe, but the team is obviously concerned enough, having sent him to Philadelphia for the exam.
He will not rejoin the team here in Florida, meaning the last game of the series will be played with a 24-man roster. Thursday is an off day.
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