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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-18

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-04-18
It wasn't vintage Cole Hamels. Not even close. Not when the San Diego Padres, hardly known for their offensive might, clubbed three home runs and scored five runs in six innings.

But, believe it or not, it constituted an improvement.

Start with Hamels' fastball velocity. After averaging about 86 mph -- and hitting 90 mph just once -- one week earlier in Denver, the Phillies' ace reached at least 90 mph on 22 of 44 fastballs, even touching 91 mph four times Friday night.

But when the Phillies have a 7-1 edge and Hamels on the mound, the game is supposed to be over. Thus, in the latest sign that Hamels still is not quite himself after missing a week of spring training with left elbow tightness, the Padres trimmed the deficit to two runs against him before completing an 8-7 comeback with three eighth-inning runs against setup man Ryan Madson.

"It doesn't matter how hard you throw. You have to finish guys off," said Hamels, who attributed his better performance to an adjusted arm slot. "This was a really good awakening. I was just trying to get my mechanics right and go out with a mind focus that this is real, these games matter. I felt I was able to do that the first few innings. Two bad pitches changed the game dramatically."

Specifically, it was a two-out, two-strike changeup that Scott Hairston pounded into the left-field seats for a two-run home run in the fifth inning and a two-strike fastball that Nick Hundley hammered for a two-run shot in the sixth, Hamels' final inning.

Mostly, though, manager Charlie Manuel was relieved at Hamels' improvement.

"He showed more strength on his fastball," he said. "I wanted to see some strength in his arm. I did see that. The mistakes he made were on balls that were up. When he gets better command, that's when he'll be right."

Said Hamels, "It's just another working point towards my next start. Obviously, I don't want to have too many of these because it's not going to benefit the team at all. I really do need to just kick it in gear and be the pitcher they expect me to be because I know I'm capable of doing it."

PADRES 8, PHILLIES 7: Chase Utley belted a three-run homer in the first inning and Raul Ibanez picked up three hits. But the Phillies fumbled a 7-1 lead in the opener of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park. Ryan Madson gave up three runs in the eighth inning to give the Padres the lead. Shane Victorino, Utley, Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste had two hits apiece for the Phillies. Before the game, late Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas' three sons threw ceremonial first pitches to Mike Schmidt, John Kruk and Jimmy Rollins, and during the seventh-inning stretch, a sellout crowd of 44,984 sang along with a videotaped rendition of Kalas' favorite ditty, "High Hopes," then stood and chanted "Ha-rry, Ha-rry!"

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 18, 2009

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