Here's an interesting idea. If a runner is on second with nobody out and a switch-hitter is batting against a lefty, why not bat from the left side? It is obviously easier to pull a ball to second base as a lefty than it is to hit it the opposite way as a righty, so if your goal is to advance the runner it would be easier to do so as a lefty.
A player who is willing to give himself up like that is the ultimate sign of a team player if you ask me.
In what seems to be a recurring theme, Cole Hamels was overlooked last night. But I was able to find a few good quotes regarding Cole.
Hamels fell behind a lot of hitters and threw a crapload of pitches in his six innings last night. Originally I thought he just had bad stuff, but it sounds like the Braves deserve a little credit:
"The plan I had going into the game, and the way I thought their approach would be, definitely wasn't," he said. "It was the complete opposite."
And here's a quote from Matt Diaz of the Braves:
"I never tip my hat to many pitchers, but Cole Hamels is one I will constantly tip my hat to," he said. "He bared right down after the McCann homer. He's fun to play against because it's always going to be a battle, but it's frustrating as heck because he wins a lot of those battles."
You would not have heard that quote three years ago. Cole needed to learn how to control himself and he did just that. Mental strength is what separates good from great and Hamels has moved from the former to the latter.
The Phillies are 1-3 offense looks terrible right now and the end of the world appears near. But the Phils have only played 2% of the games this season and still have 158 to go. It's not panic time and the players understand.
But I don't get that impression from Charlie Manuel. Some of his quotes sound like a manager who is already in panic mode. Here's a few of them:
"We don't hit the ball hard enough to score runs."
"I don't want our guys to think we can't score."
"When I look at it, I still come up with the same names."
"I don't care what we've got. Give them to me, and we'll work with them."
Here’s an interesting story involving two former Phils: according to hardballtalk.com, long-time Phillies minor leaguer Yohan Flande finally had his chance to pitch in the big leagues.That is until another former Phil, Chad Durbin showed up.
As of yesterday, Flande made the final cut as the Braves the 25th man on the roster. However, when he Nationals released Durbin, the Braves picked him up and it was back to the minors for Flande.
Matt Cain just signed a five-year, $112.5 million deal yesterday. As a good comparable for Hamels, Cain's deal will be the absolute minimum Hamels will possibly get.
$112.5 million works out to 22.5 million per season. Cain apparently was desperate to get a deal done before the season started, meaning Hamels has more leverage and will probably get WAY more than that if he tests free agency.
Cain's career ERA (3.35) is a smidgen lower than Hamels (3.39), but Cain's career record is 69-73, while Hamels' is 74-54. Hamels is clearly the better pitcher and much better than his 3.39 career ERA now that he added a cutter. Hamels is also coming off his best season, going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA.
Cain's deal is not good news for the Phillies, because they are now probably looking at an offer of six years for at least $22.5 million per year and as high as $25 million per year. Yikes.