Phillies Nation - 9/17
1. When and where
The Phillies’ final home series of the season begins Friday night against the Mets at 7:05 p.m. on CSN.
The Phils (71-81) play New York three times this weekend before heading south for three with the Marlins and four with the Braves. The Phillies are 43-35 at Citizens Bank Park this season, while the Mets are a respectable 36-39 on the road and 68-84 overall.
The Phillies are 9-7 vs. the Mets this season.
2. Two more for Hamels
Cole Hamels (8-13, 3.48) will make only one more start after this one. Based on how he’s been going for nearly three months now, he probably wishes he could just keep pitching.
Hamels is 6-2 with a 2.32 ERA over his last 14 starts. He’s allowed 0.99 baserunners per inning.
After a rough start, his numbers and performances have evened out to the point that his season marks are right in line with where they’ve always been. Hamels had a 1.12 WHIP last year; it’s 1.15 this year. His strikeout-to-walk ratio this season is 3.9; last season it was 4.2.
In four starts vs. New York this season, Hamels is 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA. When he last faced them on Aug. 28, he allowed two runs over seven innings and struck out eight in a 6-2 Phillies win.
Some fans might be disappointed by Hamels’ 2013 after he was handed a six-year, $144 million contract last July, but they shouldn’t be. Hamels has earned his money this year for a bad team and has significantly outperformed fellow high-priced pitcher Matt Cain, who has a 4.06 ERA and has averaged more than a half-inning fewer per start.
3. Last looks at the rooks
This will be Phillies fans’ last up-close look at rookies Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez and Cody Asche -- three players who will factor into their future plans.
Ruf has hit .253/.353/.484 in 64 games with 14 homers, 26 RBIs, nine doubles and 81 strikeouts in 264 plate appearances. He’s hit a home run once every 18.4 trips to the plate.
The Phils moved Hernandez, then a second baseman, to center field earlier this season to give him more of a chance to contribute, and he’s taken to the position well. Hernandez is hitting .329 with a .398 on-base percentage in 88 plate appearances and has led off 13 times this month alone. He’s had a multi-hit game in five of his last six starts.
Asche has held his own offensively and defensively, batting .263/.336/.438 with five homers, 21 RBIs, seven doubles, a triple and 14 walks in 40 games. He’s committed one error in 85 chances at third base over his last 32 games.
4. Interim in name only
It was a foregone conclusion that Ryne Sandberg would one day replace Charlie Manuel, and though the interim tag has not yet been shed from Sandberg’s official title, the job will be his.
The Phillies are 18-14 under Ryno and have just played with a different energy. Sandberg’s willingness to mix up his lineups has been refreshing, as too often under Manuel guys stayed in their slots when they weren’t producing, or stayed at the bottom of the order when they were (see: Ruiz, Carlos).
5. Return of Wright
David Wright hasn’t played in seven weeks because of a hamstring strain, but he’s expected to return Friday night. Wright was hitting .309/.391/.512 with 16 homers, 54 RBIs, 23 doubles, six triples and 17 steals when he went down.
With Wright out since Aug. 2, the Mets have gone 19-26.
Hamels wishes Wright would wait one more game. The perennial All-Star third baseman has hit .339 in 59 career at-bats vs. Hamels with three doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBIs.
The only pitchers Wright has more hits against are Jamie Moyer and Ricky Nolasco. The only player with more hits off Hamels is Wright’s former teammate Jose Reyes.
1) Cesar Hernandez, CF
2) Jimmy Rollins, SS
3) Chase Utley, 2B
4) Carlos Ruiz, C
5) Domonic Brown, LF
6) Darin Ruf, 1B
7) Cody Asche, 3B
8) John Mayberry Jr., RF
9) Cole Hamels, P