Well folks, this was it (possibly). On this night, Tuesday, July 29th of the year 2014, one Colbert Hamels made his final start as a Philadelphia Phillie (maybe). By Thursday, the California Kid will be headed back to his home state to join the Los Angeles Dodgers in hopes of bringing them a World Series Title (well, not necesaarily).
Then again, Hamels may have just made another in a long list of starts for the Philadelphia-based baseball organization. With another four to five possible seasons left on his mega contract, the veteran left hander may just be on pace to make another 135+ starts in red pinstripes. For tonight, though, we'll focus on yet another fantastic start against a familiar foe, the New York Mets. After being absolutely manhandled by Bartolo Colon in last night's contest, the Phillies offense chose to reemerge just in time to support their ace pitcher. And with a threesome of starters going deep, the declining ballclub ran away with a victory.
The Game: After just one base hit off of Mets starting pitcher Dillon Gee, the Phillies put up back-to-back run-scoring innings. With Hamels leading off the inning, there didn't seem to be much of a chance to score. However, following Ben Revere's ground out, Jimmy Rollins took his fourteenth ball deep on the season, opening the Phils up to a third inning 1-0 lead. The team would get the same power in the next frame, but from an unfamiliar source.
Ryan Howard took the liberty of leading off inning number four with a walk. With an opening base runner, it looked like the Phils may be able to extend their lead. But following a double play ball off the bat of Carlos Ruiz, Grady Sizemore stood in with two already set down. That's when the veteran outfielder went deep for the first time with his new squad. His ball ripped down the right field line and just bounced off the foul pole. It gave the road team a 2-0 lead on Gee.
Eager to make Cole Hamels last night as a Phillies starter a memorable one (or not), Chase Utley collected a monstrous hit. It all began with a Domonic Brown single to begin the seventh inning. Hamels would record a sacrifice bunt after Cody Asche flew out, leaving two away with just a single runner in scoring position. However, Ben Revere was hit with a pitch, and J-Roll worked a walk to load the bases. This is where Utley came in to play. A 2-2 pitch was laced into right field and over Curtis Granderson's head for a grand slam. The four RBIs put the Phillies up 6-0.
In all seriousness, if this was Cole Hamels' last start as a Phillie, it was an exceptional one. It truly encompassed his time with the team, proving one last time he is among the best in not only the league, but in Phillies history. Eight strikeouts and six hits spread out over eight innings of shutout baseball were enough to give Hamels the victory.
Impact: While seeing Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley collect four-base hits is special every time they do it, Grady Sizemore's was most worth talking about. Since he has joined the Phillies, Sizemore has shown that he absolutely deserves the starting role in either center or left field everyday. Perhaps Sizmore isn't on the road back to where he was just a few seasons ago, but with this Phillies team falling the way they are, the offense (and defense) has been fun to watch.
Up Next: Kyle Kendrick looks to improve his ERA of over 5.00 in his last calendar year with tomorrow's 12:10 PM start. He'll be opposed by young pitcher Zack Wheeler in New York.
Andrew Gillen, Managing Editor of Philliedelphia.com