Phils Kick Off 4-Game Cincy Series With Important Hamels Start

Phils Kick Off 4-Game Cincy Series With Important Hamels Start

This past weekend was one of the more bizarre and unpredictable in recent memory of following the Phillies. Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and both the Saturday and Sunday games being canceled, the Phils will get back on the field after a pair of strange off days. It's the kind of break in a baseball season we only really ever see around the All-Star break (but not quite as long, obviously).

But not only will the Phillies be getting back to action for the first time since their loss to the Marlins on Friday night, Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.62) will be starting for the first time in 17 days. Will Hamels return to form after an extended rest or will the fatigue he mentioned after that poor showing against the Nationals on Auguest 12th linger?

Jim Salisbury goes so far as to say, "You could make a case that this is the most important start that any Phillies pitcher has made this season."

If I had to guess how Hamels bounces back, I think he'll respond well based on what he said in the clubhouse following that less-than-stellar outing against the Nationals coupled with what Rich Dubee said following his most recent bullpen session.

The Inquirer's Boop Stats adds that Hamels couldn't be returning against a better team. Despite them having a stacked lineup, Hamels career numbers against Cincy are fantastic.

Including the 2010 playoffs and his one appearance against earlier this season, he is 8-0, 1.23 ERA in nine starts and has held them to a .168 batting average.

Hamels will take on a Reds team that has been playing good ball lately, winners of 4 straight and 6 of their last 7. Right-hander Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.44) will start tonight for Cincinnati.

Even with the right-hander on the mound for the Reds, Charlie Manuel is going with John Mayberry Jr. in left field. Is this more telling of Raul Ibanez's groin still being a little sensitive or Mayberry's real solid play of late?

Tonight's Lineup vs. Cincy: Victorino, Polanco, Utley, Howard, Pence, Mayberry, Ruiz, Valdez, and Hamels.

Transaction: With Hamels coming off the DL today to make his start tonight, Pete Orr was sent down to make room on the roster.

7:10 start time from Cin-city. All eyes on Cole.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received a majority of votes for the first time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell , on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

"Anxiety was very, very high," Bagwell said. "I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of cool."

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Lee Smith, who had 478 saves, got 34 percent in his final time on the ballot. Jorge Posada, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez were among the players who got under 5 percent and fell off future ballots.

Brown: 'No chance' Ben Simmons plays vs. Rockets next week

Brown: 'No chance' Ben Simmons plays vs. Rockets next week

Brett Brown squashed any chatter of Ben Simmons playing in the Sixers’ Jan. 27 nationally televised game against the Rockets.

“There is no chance,” Brown said Wednesday before the Sixers took on the Raptors.

On Tuesday the NBA announced the Sixers' matchup with the Rockets was added to the ESPN lineup while the Heat at Bulls game was dropped. 

That night, Simmons posted two photos on Instagram: a picture of him in Sixers warmup gear at the Wells Fargo Center with the staring eyes emoji and later a post of himself working out at the training complex. 

“I am a social media hermit. I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Brown said. “But I do know that there is no chance that he will play then.”

Simmons has been sidelined the entire season since suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot during training camp. The team has reiterated there is no timetable for his return.