Ryan Howard bats in the fourth inning against the Dominican Republic at Bright House Field on Tuesday, March 5th. - Shawna Sastamoinen
The Dominican Republic WBC team slaughtered Cole Hamels and the Phillies, pounding out 15 runs, but it was a baseball game and I was there!
It's Spring Training. These games don't count. The players are working on their mechanics, focusing on their methods, not the results. Except in the WBC tournament, where THIS TIME IT MATTERS.
The outcome, therefore, was rather predictable. The DR team, led by Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Edwin E5 Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Santana and Miguel Tejada teed off against the Phillies. Cole Hamels was tagged for eight runs in 2.2 innings of work, allowing 12 hits, zero walks, and striking out three. Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone, combined to finish the next five innings, but not before being raked for another 15 hits and seven more runs, while striking out none.
The Republicans combined for three homeruns, one each off Hamels, Martin and Pettibone.
The Phillies' offense came from the bat-ceps of Laynce Nix. After a second inning solo homerun, he singled in Josh Fields in the ninth.
But, guys, it was a baseball game played on a beautiful day under beautiful weather, and I was there with my beautiful wife. Perfect, more or less. In the silver linings department, Cody Asche impressed both in the field and at the plate. He made some terrific plays, including an absolute rocket of a throw, and went 2 for 3 with a walk and two singles. Both hits, though, were convincingly well struck.
Ender Inciarte runs amazingly fast. He turned a weak choppy roller into an infield hit, and covered a lot of ground in the outfield. His glovework left a little to be desired, however.
Domonic Brown was blanked at the plate, but made solid contact several times; he looked better than his scoreline would indicate.
Darin Ruf, on the other hand... looked totally lost. His 0 for 4 with Gordie Howe strikeouts might be explained by a rough day or flu-like symptoms or a litany of other causes. But not this time. He swung weakly at pitches all over the place. He only made contact a small handful of times, with a weak pop to left and some foul rollers. Still, these games don't count, and Ruf has time to put it back together.
In the pitching department, Hamels' changeup didn't seem to be fooling anyone. There was no radar gun display, but his other offerings seemed to lack zip. Although, given that I'm as blind as Clint Eastwood in that movie about the Braves, take that with a TEU of salt. I've never seen Martin or Pettibone in action before, so I can't comment on their stuff fairly; but I will say that Justin Friend, in his one and a third inning at the end of the "game" was decidedly impressive. His stuff had zip, and looked to have good movement.
So it was a rough day for the Phillies, but it doesn't matter because OMG I HAVEN'T BEEN TO A "REAL" BASEBALL GAME SINCE JUNE OF 2010 AND TOMORROW ROY HALLADAY PITCHES against Stephen Strasburg of the Gnaxpotionals.