Hamels gears up for opener with strong outing
Left-hander allows just one run, four hits in Philadelphia's loss to Boston
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Cole Hamels' sixth-inning curveball to Shane Victorino earned Hamels a little more than a strikeout looking in the Phillies 6-1 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday night at JetBlue Park.
"I was just trying to get him out, because now it's bragging rights," said Hamels, who will be Philadelphia's Opening Day starter. "You don't ever want a guy to get the bragging rights on you."
Victorino, the former Phillies outfielder, shouldn't feel too bad though. He got beat by one heck of a pitch.
"Actually, that's probably one of the best ones I've thrown in a really long time," Hamels said. "So I guess I'll have to hear from him, because I know he's obviously not used to seeing me throw that, even though he was out in center field."
Victorino also had his next at-bat to hang his hat on. After Hamels' six innings of four-hit, one-run ball, Victorino hit a three-run triple during Boston's five-run seventh.
Michael Young gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first with a fielder's-choice grounder, but Daniel Nava hit a sacrifice fly to tie it for the Sox in the second.
Hamels got Victorino on a pop up in the first and a groundout in the third. The rest of Hamels' start was positive, as he struck out five and walked two on 81 pitches, 53 for strikes.
The changeup was on point, as well as the curve.
"Now that we're kind of playing more of the big time guys, guys' swings are obviously a lot better," Hamels said. "I think that's kind of a pitch, or pitches, that I definitely need to have down, because I struggled with it early on. Now it's building up the pitch count, able to kind of work for more innings, opposed to throwing only four or five when you have 30 or 40 pitches. Now I'm able to throw it like it's a game situation. I've got a really good feel on it. I still think I got away with some early on, because I was doing something with my mechanics. Then I fixed it."
Hamels' next and final scheduled Grapefruit League outing won't be as long, which gave Thursday's outing some importance. Hamels said he feels like his body is nearly up to speed with all the work he's been doing.
"You build up the pitch count every five days, you build up the pitch count and you're still working out as hard as you possibly can so your body's not catching up," Hamels said. "Obviously, as spring goes on, your body starts to kind of get going. It always with help with the extra adrenaline. I think you get more zip on your ball."
Catcher Carlos Ruiz exited in the ninth inning with a bruised left hand after getting hit by an Anthony Carter pitch. He will be reevaluated in Clearwater on Friday.
Up next: No. 7 prospect Adam Morgan, who was cut earlier in camp, gets another big league look on Friday in a 1:05 p.m. ET home game against the Braves. The contest will air live on MLB.TV. Lefty Paul Maholm goes for Atlanta.