Will we ever think of lovingly nuzzling these neck tendons again? (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Erstwhile Phillies pitcher and possible hired gun Cole Hamels took to the bump on the bump in Colorado -- 5,280 feet and 10 inches above sea level. He was without sidekicks Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, both resting, though the former pinch hit for Hamels in the eighth.
Hamels, after struggling through the first two innings, settled down and held the Rockies in check for 8 innings. We all realize that every game Hamels pitches right now could be his last as a Phillie. If it was today's game, then it was a nice sendoff. He went eight innings, threw 111 pitches, and struck out seven, walking one. He scattered 6 hits, and gave up only one run in the sixth when a Carlos Gonzalez triple drove in Marco Scutaro, who worked the only walk of the day issued by Hamels. Stinking walks. Geez...
The Rockies sent out Drew Pomeranz to face the Phillies. He gave up five runs over five innings, hurt largely by a three run homer off the bat of the struggling Hunter Pence. Pence was 0-13 until he hit a no doubter into the left field seats in the fifth inning with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino on base. The Pence homer nailed the door shut on the Rockies.
Pomeranz had surrendered single runs in the first and the fourth, the latter on a double by Carlos Ruiz, a ground out by Ty Wigginton, and a sacrifice fly by Placido Polanco that was not terribly deep. A poor throw that was up the line allowed Chooch to motor home easily. Small ball, indeed. It helps to get a lead off double.
A nice defensive sequence by the Phillies, and Placido Polanco (reputedly being coveted by the third base defenseless Orioles) bears singling out: In the fifth inning, Chris Nelson hit a rocket at Polanco, and it was ticketed for the corner and a double. Polanco knocked it down, but it dribbled into foul territory, and Nelson reached on the play, scored as a single. The next hitter, Josh Rutledge, smoked a ball to Polanco who fielded it cleanly, and turned the double play. Polanco's defense kept it in order in the first place and then cashed it in on the next hitter. It was a wonderful example of how good defense, even when it does not generate an out, makes a huge difference.
Ryan Howard, in his pinch hitting appearance mentioned above, drilled a ball into an unfortunate 3 - 6 - 3 double play. C'est la vie. At least he hit it pretty hard.
With Hamels out, Antonio Bastardo was asked to come in to close out the game in the ninth. He worked an easy, clean ninth inning with absolutely. No. Drama. zOMG!
Fangraph of Waiting for Roy: