Hamels avoids issuing free passes and thrives

Phillies Cole Hamels delivers a pitch on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at Citizens Bank Park. ( RON CORTES / Staff Photographer ).
Phillies Cole Hamels delivers a pitch on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at Citizens Bank Park. ( RON CORTES / Staff Photographer ).
Posted: July 16, 2013

Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels is in his best stretch of the season. His walks have been down and he is reaping the benefits.

Hamels (4-11, 4.01 ERA) allowed just two runs in eight innings in Sunday's 4-3 victory in 10 innings over the Chicago White Sox.

If Jonathan Papelbon had not blown the save in the ninth inning, Hamels would have earned his third consecutive win.

He struck out seven and walked none. In his last three games, Hamels has struck out 19 and walked one; he has two wins and a 1.57 ERA in that span.

"I think I am more disappointed about that one walk," Hamels said. "I definitely remember it and it wasn't a situation I wanted to walk the guy. That is all I can hope for, letting them hit it instead of giving them free passes because that one walk did score and I can't let that happen."

His goal is to make players earn their way on base.

"Giving guys free bases isn't what you want," he said. "If I get strikeouts, so be it, but it is ultimately getting the quick outs and showing you are going to come right after them and not let them dig deep and move your pitch count up."

Hamels says he hasn't done anything consciously new to change things on the mound.

"No, it's something I have tried to do from day one," he said about limiting walks. "It's been the same thing, but it's just that things are starting to move and groove and fall in place."

Papelbon 'a little spent'

Armed with a 3-2 lead, Papelbon could not hold it, allowing a ninth-inning RBI single to Josh Phegley. It was Papelbon's fifth blown save, and all have come with two outs. He now has four days off at the all-star break to recharge his batteries.

"I think he is healthy but he might be getting a little spent at this time of the year," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think the break will be good for him and I think his stuff is still there."

Papelbon said fatigue did not affect his performance, although he acknowledged the grind of the season.

"I think everyone on this team has gone through a lot both mentally and physically," he said. "It's been a tough first half for us."

Kratz is back

The Phillies placed Ben Revere (broken right ankle) on the disabled list and activated catcher Erik Kratz, who had surgery on June 12 for a torn meniscus in his left knee.

With Carlos Ruiz, Humberto Quintero and Kratz, the Phillies have three catchers on the roster but that will likely change by Friday because need another outfielder.

"I feel great, almost 100 percent," Kratz said. He said he is still working on getting his timing back at the plate.


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