By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—You can’t put the Phillies 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins on the shoulders of Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels because he did his part.
In eight innings, Hamels allowed a pair of solo homeruns with six strikeouts, no walks and just four hits. He also retired the last 13 men he faced.
Unfortunately, the Phillies offense could not figure out Marlins 20-year-old starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, who simply shut down a hot Phillies offense and held them to just one hit while striking out nine in seven innings of work. It was his first major league win.
“He was on,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “He brought his game to the yard today. He was on and he was really good. “I’ve seen a lot of young pitchers (Bert) Blyleven when he was about that age or younger. I remember Jim Palmer when he was young. I’ve seen quite a few pitchers. When you’re good, you’re good.”
It was just one of those nights where the Phillies simply had to just to tip their collective hats to the performance of the other guy. After Freddy Galvis first-inning single up the middle, it was all Fernandez. The Phillies also could get anything Marlins relief pitchers Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek.
“(Fernandez) was real good,” said Manuel. “I thought their guy was throwing strikes. He was throwing strikes with his secondary stuff, his breaking ball, his changeup. He was aggressive and he came right at us with good fast ball.”
The Phillies faced Fernandez on April 13 in Florida and found themselves on the short end of a 2-1 loss. The Phillies players who saw the young pitcher Saturday night said Fernandez was even better and did a good job of keeping them off balance at the plate.
“He mixed up his pitches well the whole night,” said Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, who went 0-for-3 on the night. “I got ahead in the count and he was still throwing his off-speed pitches where he wanted to throw them.”
Brown said the real disappointment for the Phillies offense was not being able to give Hamels any run support. The Phillies simply could not find a way to break through a pitcher who was just too hot to handle.
“It sucks. As hitters we’re trying our hardest to produce runs for Cole,” Brown said. “He pitched a heck of a ball game and we only can buy one hit. We hit a couple of balls hard. The second baseman made a couple of good plays, but that’s baseball. ”
Meanwhile, from one pitcher to another, Hamels couldn’t help but admire Fernandez’s performance.
“(Fernandez) is really impressive,” Hamels said. “He’s going to be a really great pitcher for a really long time because he came up early and he’s going to learn how to pitch, if he already doesn’t how to. He’s got a power heater, a power curve ball, a pretty good changeup and he’s not afraid. I think that’s what ultimately what separates for being great because he’s not a afraid.”
Hamels gave up a solo homer to Miami rightfielder Marcell Ozuna to left center and another one to first baseman Chris Valaiaka in the third inning. Other than the two yard shots, Hamels had an outstanding effort that wound up going for naught.
“There are some instances when you don’t get any runs, you just have to keep playing the game because it definitely turn around,” Hamels said. “Last year, I gave up some runs here and there, but we were always able to score more than the opposing team.
“It’s just matter of being comfortable and making sure you’re confident in what you’re able to do.”