Roto Rush: The Cole of Old
While it was just one game, Cole Hamels sure looked like he was back in vintage form.
The Phillies ace, who is rocking a 4.52 ERA and 1.34 WHIP this season, threw eight shutout innings in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, striking out seven batters in all. Hamels actually has been better than his ERA and WHIP indicate, as he now has 126 Ks versus just 33 BBs this season. I'll take that K/BB ratio from my pitcher any day, as nine times out of ten, the ERA and WHIP will be sparkling.
Unfortunately for Hamels, the ninth inning ended up being the most dramatic frame of the game.
With Brad Lidge having worked the last four games (and epically melting down on Tuesday), manager Charlie Manuel turned to Ryan Madson to record the save in the 1-0 game. But Madson surrendered a home run to Brandon Moss (his sixth of the season), tying the game at one and sending the game into extras.
After Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino reached base safely, Ryan Howard deposited a pitch into the right-field seats to secure a three-run advantage, which Madson protected in the tenth. It was Howard's ninth homer in August, and he looks primed to make another late-season power surge heading into the playoffs.
Bits From the Box Scores:
• Speaking of drama, how about Bengie Molina? The Giants catcher was out with a tight quad, but with the Rockies surging and the Giants in danger of falling out of the playoff race, San Francisco needs every win at any expense. So Molina limps out to the batter's box and crushes a three-run homer to give the team a one-run lead in the eighth, which Brandon Medders protected in the ninth.
• Andre Ethier has been doing his best Manny Ramirez impression all season. The Los Angeles right-fielder smacked his 26th and 27th homers of the season in Wednesday's 6-2 win against the red-hot Rockies. Who would have thought this division would be filled with so much excitement, especially when the Dodgers were running away with things early in the year? Ethier is hitting .383 this month, picking up Manny's slack (.291, just two HRs in August).
• Speaking of two-HR days, David Ortiz launched a couple against the White Sox, the last of which being a ninth-inning walk-off solo job. Boston has won three straight, keeping themselves in the thick of the playoff race. Ortiz has seven HRs in August, but they're accompanied by an ugly .212 average.
• Jose Lopez homered again, the fourth dinger he's had in a week's time. After a .214, three-HR May, it looked like he wasn't going to be useful this season. I actually dumped him in one league after trading for Orlando Hudson. Lopez has turned on the juices since June, much to my chagrin.
• Other HRs of note: Torii Hunter hit his first HR since coming back from the DL. Matt LaPorta hit his first one since being called back to the majors -- and he's hitting .346 in those seven games. Jorge Posada went yard for the second straight day, and he has 17 jacks on the season.
• Pitching performances of note: Scott Kazmir (6 IP, 1 ER, 10 Ks), Jeremy Guthrie, (7 IP, 1 ER, 5 Ks), Andy Pettitte (7 IP, 2 ERs, 7 Ks), Marc Rzepczynski (6 IP, 2 ERs, 7 Ks), Joel Pineiro (8 IP, 2 ER, 5 Ks), Tim Wakefield's return (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 Ks).
• Justin Upton returned to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, going 1-for-3 with a double. Owners hope he was able to shake whatever caused him to hit .240 in July. Alfonso Soriano also returned to his team after a few days of rest, getting one hit in four tries against the Nationals. His .162 average in August should keep him parked on your bench for now.
• Lineup Lock Time: 1:05 ET game today, so get your lineups set ASAP.