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May 29, 2015

Rockies 4, Phillies 1: Not quite a no-no

Cole Hamels was great again, but the Phils' punchless offense was almost no-hit

The Phillies probably felt like they had a good chance to break their four-game skid behind the last starter who won a game, Cole Hamels. They weren’t prepared for relative unknown Chad Bettis, though, who no-hit them into the eighth inning as the Colorado Rockies won Game 1 at Citizens Bank Park by a score of 4-1. Here’s what I saw:

Starting Pitcher

1. Hamels added a little juice to his fastball (94 mph) against Troy Tulowitzki in the first inning, but the four-time all-star was ready for the additional heat. Tulo, who hasn’t been very good this year — So much so that I stumbled across an articled entitled “Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have flat out stunk this year” — took the Phils’ ace out to left for a 1-0 Rockies lead.

2. As it turned out, Tulowitzki had Hamels’ number tonight because he hit a high fastball out of the park in his second at-bat. Prior to tonight, the roles were reversed. Tulo was hitting .125 in 19 plate appearances against Hamels with no homers. His third time up, Tulowitzki smoked a single through a three-man shift on the left side of the infield. Tulowitzki finished with four hits.

3. Against literally everyone besides the one guy, Hamels was his usual excellent self. He only allowed two hits to anyone not named Tulowitzki and was able to throw eight innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts and one free pass. The scouts in attendance had Unfortunately, he used up a month’s worth of run support on Saturday in Washington D.C.

4. 117 pitches for Hamels, though. Not sure your top trade asset needs to come out for the eighth inning there. And by “not sure,” I mean, “don’t understand why.”


1. 18 up and 18 down to start the game for Colorado starter Chad Bettis. With the exception of Freddy Galvis (who wore out Rockies center fielder Brandon Barnes), the Phillies largely weren’t getting good swings against him, either. Lowest-scoring team in the majors by a half run for a reason, folks.

2. It looked as if Ryan Howard’s towering fly ball in the fifth inning would’ve went over the fence in center, but barely. This wasn’t an easy play for Barnes to make, but it also would be a stretch to say that he “robbed” The Big Piece of a bomb.

3. Tough scoring decision on Ben Revere’s slow grounder up the middle that broke up the perfect game attempt. Tulowitzki booted the ball, but there was an argument to be made that the speedy Revere would’ve beat the throw to first. It was ruled an error, which I thought was the right call.

4. Bettis got through 7.1 innings without surrendering a hit, but new call-up Cody Asche broke up the bid with a single the other way. The Rockies had three infielders on the right side against Asche, who slapped the ball the other way into the huge hole where the shortstop is usually standing.

5. UMP SHOW: With runners on the corners and two outs in the eighth, Angel Hernandez was adamant Darin Ruf swung at a 2-2 pitch and didn’t need to appeal to first. On the replay, it really did look like Ruf held up. Ryne Sandberg got ejected for arguing with Hernandez in the ninth inning, his first of the year. Larry Bowa, he is not.

6. The Phils got their only run in the ninth when Barnes, now playing left field, made a mess of a fly ball that Utley hit to the warning track (but should've been caught).


1. Luis Garcia pitched a really bad ninth inning. He allowed two baserunners to begin the inning, got bailed out by Maikel Franco on a ball that was smoked for a double play, and then gave up a two-run homer to Ben Paulsen.


1. Not a good start from Cody Asche in left field:

How can you let Tulowitzki homer OVER YOUR HEAD like that? Twice! SMDH. I know Hamels is going to take a lot of the blame for the bad pitch, but let’s not give Asche a free pass here, folks.

2. Pretty good Fake WIP Caller impression, huh? In all seriousness, I'm not sure more than one or two balls were hit in Asche's direction all night.

3. Really nice play Carlos Ruiz on a ball that scurried pretty away from him to gun down Tulowitzki at second in the sixth. The scoop and tag by Chase Utley weren’t exactly easy to pull off, either. 

4. Nifty double play turned by Franco in the ninth that everyone initially thought would help get Luis Garcia out of a jam.

Up Next

We have the rare early-afternoon start tomorrow, as Game 2 is scheduled to get underway at 3:05 p.m. Aaron Harang (4-4, 1.93 ERA) takes the ball for the Phillies and he’ll be opposed by Jorge De La Rosa (1-2, 6.51 ERA), who only surrendered three runs but was frankly pretty painful to watch pitch when these two teams met in Denver last week. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann