Philly Sports Live

Phillies Stumble, Hamels Shines

The Phillies opened up Grapefruit League play Saturday against the Houston Astros at Brighthouse Field. The ‘Stros make their American League debut this season and will sport retro uniforms akin to their 1980s teams. The Phils fell to the Astros by a score of 8-3.

Cole Hamels started on the bump for the Fightins and was spot on. He finished the day allowing just one hit and recorded a strikeout. He kept Houston off balance at the plate, never making solid contact. He was able to get a lot of quick outs and threw just over 20 pitches. As the cliché goes, the former World Series MVP was in midseason form.

The Phillies got off to a fast start offensively, as new comer Ben Revere led off with an infield single. Showing that great speed the team acquired him for, he stole second and advanced to third on a Michael Young groundout. Chase Utley’s first spring training at-bat since 2010 would follow, and the 2nd baseman netted a first pitch single to score Revere. The Astros then played the shift for Ryan Howard who would ground out, though Utley was able to advance to third with no one covering. A thing of beauty to see those types of instincts again.

Domonic Brown led off the second with a single, followed by a Lance Nix walk. Veteran infielder Yuniesky Betancourt, fighting for a bench role on the team, laced a single to left to score Brown from second.

Another breath of the fresh air on this day was plate discipline. Almost every hitter in the first two innings really worked the count well and saw a lot of pitches from the Houston staff. They were able to play small ball and manufacture runs.

It was all downhill from here.

The Phils wouldn’t score again until the eighth inning.

B.J. Rosenberg, Zack Miner, Jeremy Horst and Justin De Fratus combined to allow 12 hits and all eight runs. The Astros had baserunners in every inning but the second. The Phillie staff was not helped any by four defensive errors, two coming from Darin Ruf and Ben Revere. Both errors allowed runners to advance into scoring position after runs had scored. Concerns with Charlie Mauel’s outfield were magnified a bit.

Former Phils prospect Jared Cosart pitch two shutout, no hit innings against his former franchise. Former prospect Jonathan Villar also saw action on the day.

The Phils added a late home run from Pete Orr, but there was no offense after the second inning.

Some bright spots and some rough spots in the spring training opener for Charlie Manuel’s team, but remember, that’s what spring training is for. To fine tune, to readjust and prepare.

The Phils play again tomorrow in Lakeland, FL against the Detroit Tigers. Roy Halladay takes on Justin Verlander on the mound.