Cole Hamels Needs Better Command Today vs. Indians

Cole Hamels Needs Better Command Today vs. Indians

16 runs of support in eight starts for Cole Hamels clearly isn't going to cut it. So the first words on the Phillies $144 million man's ninth start today against the Indians at 1:05 p.m., absolutely need to be that the lineup needs to start producing for him. Like, now.

That said, Hamels flimsy run support isn't just a Hamels thing. It's a top ace thing.

So between his pay grade and room for error (which is at this point is tiny), Hamels needs to shore up the part of his game that's actually awry, and uncharacteristically so: his command.

Twice this year Hamels has walked five or more batters in a single start, both of those in his last three starts, a span in which he's issued 11 freebies in 20 innings. He entered 2013 with only four such starts... in seven years.

That is very, categorically un-Hamels. His 3.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio from 2010-12 was fourth-best in the game. Nos. 1 and 2? Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. Cole has never dipped below 3.02 for a full big league season. Yet through six weeks, Hamels' K/BB is a horrid 1.95, which falls 78th of 106 qualifying starters.

Of course, Hamels' dearth of Ks mints the other side of that coin. His 7.49 strikeouts per nine innings pace is the tiniest of his career, down 1.50 from last year. He's topped seven strikeouts only twice so far. Through eight starts last year, he gassed seven or more five times. Today would be a good time to rediscover that.

Twice in a row Charlie Manuel has had to concede that his No. 1 starter was outdueled by someone the Phillies hadn't seen before this  year. Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.64 ERA) isn't likely to make it 3 for 3. The 27-year-old righthander has lasted five innings or more only twice in five starts. In his latest two, he's been tagged for 11 runs off 16 hits and three homers in 10 1/3 innings.

That would figure to bode well for, well, everybody.

Ryan Howard is mired in a 2 for 22 slump in his last six games. Delmon Young and Carlos Ruiz have as many strikeouts (17) as hits in 80 combined at-bats. Chase Utley is back in the lineup after sitting yesterday, and has been on a tear. He’s hitting .379 in his last 29 at-bats over his last seven games.

Though the biggest contributor here may be Hamels' command.

Get it back, and his Phillies are but a lock for their first four-game win streak this year.

Don't, and he's leaving himself and the team vulnerable to this lineup's whims.

An early 1:05 Business Persons Special from South Philadelphia.

Report: Kings called Flyers about bad goalie Steve Mason

Report: Kings called Flyers about bad goalie Steve Mason

Dealing with injuries in their crease, the Los Angeles Kings called the Flyers to check in on the availability of bad goalie Steve Mason, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Kings starter and otherwise really good goalie Jonathan Quick is out up to three months with a groin injury, while backup Jeff Zatkoff is currently on injured reserve with a groin injury too.

Before eventually brining in former Predators and Coyotes goaltender Anders Lindbach, Los Angeles called around the league to see if any teams might be able to help them find a replacement for Quick. Mason was one of the potential candidates, Friedman said, but Mason's $4.1 million cap hit couldn't fit into their cap situation. Plus, the Flyers don't have any cap flexibility, either.

Mason is 4-2 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .901 save percentage in six games this season.

Sixers fan ejected for flipping Russell Westbrook the double bird

Sixers fan ejected for flipping Russell Westbrook the double bird

Get this guy season tickets! (Just kidding, we don't endorse this kind of behavior and almost don't find it funny at all)

A man who if you were kind of drunk could almost look like Larry Bird's second cousin was ejected from the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night for showing a bit of negative emotion directed at Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook.

Kids, if you're reading at home, stop....

earmuffs ** He flipped him the double bird ** earmuffs

The fan was later removed from his seat and probably told to act like a decent human.