Roy Halladay Brilliant in Phillies Debut, but Can Cole Hamels Follow Suit?

April 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

On April 4, the National League got its first taste of what the American League has had to deal with for much of the last decade.

Although I certainly do not play for the Washington Nationals, I think I can make a safe assumption about what their first impression was.

Damn, Roy Halladay is good.

Two days ago, he made his Opening Day debut for the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Nationals were his first victim There was a festive attitude at the ballpark before the game, and even the Nationals fans (who seemed to be outnumbered at the stadium) were full of hope.

What followed was an 11-1 drubbing that would have even the most optimistic fans feeling sour.

The game began with a fairly pedestrian first inning that had Halladay looking surprisingly human. He gave up a walk, allowed some hits, and let a run score.

I hope the Nationals enjoyed it because what followed was six innings of total domination. Halladay was in complete control, and his poise on the mound was just as intimidating as his pitches.

His fastball was clocked from 91 to 95 miles per hour, which is difficult enough to deal with it before it makes that signature cut that shatters so many bats. The slider just taunted the hitters, coming in hot before slicing out of the strike zone, like an express train that at the last minute decides on a change of destination.

The curveball was a mirage—at one second appearing to be coming directly at the hitter’s head before diving into the corners. He also threw a few changeups just for good measure.

But this isn’t the American League anymore, and pitchers are required to “participate” on the offensive end, in most cases standing at the plate, making a few foolish hacks before sitting down again. Halladay apparently didn’t get the memo because he also registered his first hit and RBI of the season.

His debut was not perfect, but with the Phillies‘ offense locked in, he hardly needed to be.

Alas, Opening Day is only one game, and unless Halladay is more iRobot than mere mortal, he cannot start every game.

Enter Cole Hamels.

The former World Series MVP makes his season debut tonight and is ready to start the chapter on a new season. Following a 2009 campaign that disappointed both him and the majority of the Philadelphia area, Hamels is ready to go.

He showed up for spring training with his arm in much better shape and has been honing his curveball and tinkering with a cutter. The early season reviews have raved about his preparation and focus so far.

However, that is meaningless until he proves that he can get it all back together when it counts.

Tonight, he gets that chance.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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