July 06, 2009
I had Cincinnati at Philadelphia circled on my to-do list Monday night so I could watch Cole Hamels(notes) pitch. Instead, I saw three hours of Phillies batting practice. A lot of stats and a handful of stories came from Philadelphia's 22-1 laugher, and let's dive right into it.
• Johnny Cueto(notes) started for the Reds and he didn't have a thing – he was chased before the first inning ended (5 H, 9 R, 3 BB, 2 HR, 1 HPB, just two outs recorded). There was nothing cheap about Philadelphia's 10-run explosion to open the game – all the hits were sharp, all the walks were legit."I don't think Johnny was right tonight," Shane Victorino(notes) said after the game. "He wasn't himself."
It's very likely that this is just a bump in the road for Cueto, merely one of those nights, but keep in mind he did have some lower-back discomfort in his last start, albeit that was a very successful turn (6 IP, 1 H, 8 K). It will be interesting to see what he does at Citi Field Saturday against the watered-down Mets lineup.
• Chase Utley(notes) (3-1-2-4, homer) and Ryan Howard(notes) (4-0-1-1) made early exits for the hosts as the game was clearly decided, but everyone else from the starting lineup played the full nine innings. Jimmy Rollins(notes) kept his redemption song playing (4-4-3-1, with two walks; he's now on a 10-for-19 tear and back leading off for the NL's best offense). Victorino helped his All-Star cause with a 5-5-4-4 line, including a first-inning rocket into the right-field seats.
Jayson Werth(notes) didn't have much going (4-1-1-1) until the bottom of the eighth, when he capped the scoring with a towering grand slam to right-center field. The stat-padder was essentially a gift from Dusty Baker; the Cincinnati skipper brought in shortstop Paul Janish(notes) to pitch the eighth, the second time this year he's played that card. Janish hits 90-91 mph on the gun but he doesn't have any stuff; he's now allowed 11 runs in his two innings of work. Velocity isn't everything, kids.
• It's hard to tell what to make of Hamels' night, given that he was up 10 runs so quickly. He allowed a second-inning homer to Jonny Gomes(notes) but otherwise cruised, throwing strikes and letting his defense do the work (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 92 pitches). On the heels of two rocky outings, it's encouraging to see Hamels work into the seventh, even if he wasn't blowing away hitters. His final start of the first half comes Saturday at home against Pittsburgh.
• It's a shame Raul Ibanez(notes) (groin) had to miss this one, but he'll be back soon. He played five innings at Double-A Reading on Monday in his first rehab game. He'll make two more minor-league starts over the next three days, then the team will re-evaluate his condition.
• According to the Phillies TV broadcast, it's the most runs the Phils have scored since 1985, and it's Cincinnati's most lopsided loss in history. Get that on your resume, Johnnie Baker.