Long ball dooms Hamels, Phillies again in D.C.

The pitcher who took the mound on Thursday night for the Philadelphia Phillies sure resembled Cole Hamels. And his name was on the back of the red pinstriped jersey.

However, he looked nothing like Cole Hamels. Not at least the pitcher that fans have grown accustomed to watching over the last eight years.

For the second time in his first three starts of the season, Hamels was roughed up by the long ball. He served up more home runs – two solo shots – and lacked crispness in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

He was tagged with five earned runs on five hits, issued four walks and struck out seven over six frames. Most alarming are the round-trippers Hamels is surrendering, though.

Four went deep off him on opening day against the Red Sox, he allowed one in a win over the Nationals on April 12 and added two more on Thursday. As Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News tweeted out, Hamels has given up seven homers in 65 batters faced this year. He allowed his seventh homer of the year to the 359th batter he faced last year.

Oddly enough, all the homers have been solo shots. Through against the at Nationals Park on April 16, 2015 in Washington, DC.three starts, Hamels owns a 5.00 ERA.

The rest of the game was rather uneventful. Yunel Esobar opened the bottom of the first with a homer on the first pitch he saw and the Phillies tied it in the third and took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. However, the Nationals responded with a run apiece in their fourth and fifth and tacked on two more in the sixth.

It was an interesting lineup to say the least for manager Ryne Sandberg. Ryan Howard was demoted to the No. 7 spot in the lineup and had a base hit and a walk in four plate appearances. Darin Ruf batted eighth, while Freddy Galvis hit second, Jeff Francoeur was the clean-up hitter and Cody Asche was behind Francoeur.

The changes produced five hits.

Remaining consistent, they failed miserably with runners on base and in scoring position again. They loaded the bases twice but managed one meager run out of both situations. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

On a positive side, the pain was quick. The game was over in 2 hours, 16 minutes.

The match-up for Friday’s game couldn’t be more lopsided at least on paper. Sean O’Sullivan is opposite Max Scherzer.

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