With the rainout and an off day Thursday, the Phillies had a decision to make: push back Kyle Kendrick's scheduled start or keep the rotation order intact? Despite the fact that Kendrick pitched consistently well during his five April starts and Cole Hamels struggled mightily in the wind and rain Tuesday, the Phillies opted to shuffle the rotation for their weekend series with the Washington Nationals.
Kendrick will pitch Monday when the Phillies begin a four-game, home-and-home series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, and Hamels will pitch against the Nationals in what promises to be three marquee matchups.
Lee (3-2, 3.29 ERA) will be opposed Friday by Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 4.24), Burnett (1-1, 2.15) will go Saturday against Tanner Roark (2-0, 2.76), and Hamels (0-2, 6.75) will face Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.25) on Sunday.
The Phillies also said that Roberto Hernandez would return to the rotation Tuesday against Toronto. Hernandez relieved Hamels and struck out the only batter he faced in the loss to the Mets.
Hamels was so embarrassed by his performance during the Phillies' 6-1 loss that he used the word four times while talking about it. The lefthander, making his second start of the season and first at home, lasted just 42/3 innings. He allowed six runs on eight hits, walked five, hit another batter, and threw a wild pitch.
It was only the seventh time in 246 career starts that Hamels walked five or more batters. He is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in those games. Three of them have come against the Mets, the National League team that has given him the most trouble during his career. Hamels slipped to 7-14 with a 4.05 ERA against the Mets, but he said this particular poor outing was a byproduct of the cold weather rather than the name on the front of the opposing uniform.
"It was the chill and not being able to get some perspiration so you could grip the ball," Hamels said. "Today might have been the day to use pine tar. Unfortunately, I don't do that."
Hamels said his grip issues were not a good excuse because New York's Jonathon Niese fought through the elements and provided the Mets with seven strong innings.
"Sometimes you have to battle the elements," Hamels said. "The elements definitely got the best of me. From my standpoint, I'm truly embarrassed . . . that I didn't give anybody a chance because balls weren't even being put in play. It's an embarrassment because I'm not allowing my teammates to get into the game when you're walking that many guys.
"Hopefully it's not going to be the type of performance I'm going to repeat, but it is very poor and something I'm going to have to put far behind [me]. This is definitely a game you don't want to remember. I mean, throwing 50-something balls - I don't do that."
Hamels threw 106 pitches and 51 missed the strike zone. It was only the second time in his career that he threw 50 or more balls. The last time was in a July 27, 2012, loss to Atlanta when he walked a career-high six batters in a Phillies loss.
Thanks to the reshuffled rotation, he will get a shot at redemption Sunday against the Nationals.