Cole Hamels Is the First Pitcher in the NL to 10 Losses This Season

Cole Hamels Is the First Pitcher in the NL to 10 Losses This Season

He hasn’t been as sharp in 2013 as we’ve come to expect, but Cole Hamels is pitching well enough to keep the Phillies in games. Sunday at Colorado was the 11th time in 15 starts this season where Hamels held the opponent to three earned runs or less. His line: three runs off of six hits through seven innings. That’s pretty good.

The Phils couldn’t muster any runs of their own until the ninth inning though, and by then the bullpen already came along and did their job, which apparently is to make things worse. The Rockies outlasted the Fightins by a final of 5-2, pushing Hamels’ record to 2-10, and the team’s record in his starts to 2-13. That’s very bad.

10 losses leads the National League – by two in fact – and ties him with Joe Blanton for most in the Majors. Hamels is on pace to become to the first 20-game loser in all of baseball since Mike Maroth for Detroit in 2003, and first in the NL since Phil Niekro for Atlanta in 1979.

Sad as it is to say, this is not altogether unfamiliar territory in the clubhouse, as Cliff Lee went through similar difficulties last year when it took him until July to secure his first win. Hamels has dealt with the lack of offense before as well. As recently as 2011, the Phillies produced three runs or less in 20 of his 31 starts – he still managed to go 14-9.

Maybe the two of them could form a support group for starting pitchers who deserve better support groups. Hamels tried talking it out with reporters after the game.

“This year I don’t think we have the excuses we had last year,” he said. “We have to be accountable for what we’re doing, the way we’re playing, what’s going on. I’m not happy about it. The reason I want to be here is I want to win. I know I had a few bad games early on, but ultimately, I’m going out there to win, to go to the postseason, to go to the World Series. I know there are a few guys out here who have the same belief.”

It’s probably unlikely Hamels will actually get to 20 losses, because he’s simply too good. Admittedly he has not looked like the player the franchise signed to a $144-million extension last summer, but his luck has to turn around eventually. The team’s luck, on the other hand, is another matter entirely.

Hamels reaching double digits in losses is only part of the backdrop to an even more depressing story in which the Phils just completed a 10-game road trip where they went 3-7, including a five game losing streak. They are now 8.5 back of the Braves for first place in the NL East – as far behind as they’ve been all season – and an equal number out of a wild card.

Today is June 17. The trade deadline is on July 31. It’s no secret what kind of decisions will be facing the front office if the Fightins don’t make some progress in either one of those races soon.

When the team comes home from a road trip 3-7, and the winning percentage in games pitched by the staff ace falls to .133, even optimists find it increasingly difficult to figure out a way that's going to be possible.

>> Hamels battles, but lifeless Phillies lose again [CSN]

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration. 

A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.

Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.

Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.

General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.

Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored. 

Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.

Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.

Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs. 

After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career. 

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P