CLEARWATER, Fla. — After he was bludgeoned Tuesday for eight runs and 12 hits in the span of 20 batters, Cole Hamels reached a reasonable conclusion.
"Obviously the Dominican Republic has a real good shot at winning the World Baseball Classic," Hamels said. "They're excited and I kind of hit them at the wrong time."
Hamels has never allowed 12 hits in a game, and that statement still stands because Tuesday's exhibition with the Dominican Republic did not count — not even in spring statistics. He lasted 2 2/3 innings and threw 59 pitches.
The star-studded Dominican Republic lineup featured Jose Reyes, Robinson Cano, Edwin Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Santana and Miguel Tejada. It was easily the best unit Hamels will face this spring.
"I can't get off my game plan because, thank goodness, it doesn't count," Hamels said. "So I have a gameplan of what I'm trying to execute today, no matter what their gameplan is. So if it hits at the wrong time, which a lot of the pitches did, obviously it's not going to look good for what I'm trying to do.
"I'm just going to take it for what its worth, build on it and go into the next game trying to build my pitch count and execute pitches."
For example, Hamels said, he has a plan he would typically use against Hanley Ramirez during the regular season. But Tuesday, Hamels said he threw all fastballs to Ramirez as he was working on his control of the pitch.
Ramirez bashed two doubles off Hamels.
Hamels started throwing curveballs this week during his side sessions but was not able to practice the pitch much Tuesday. The Dominicans swung early and often. They batted around in the second inning with six hits.
Getting ahead of hitters was a challenge.
"On top of that," Hamels said, "when I was throwing strikes, they were hitting them. I didn't miss many bats."
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.