Safe to say that the best word to describe the Phillies season so far has been "lackluster." Their offense has been anemic, injuries abound, and they are currently bottom-dwelling in the NL East. Then last night happened. Cole "Hollywood" Hamels, who has deservedly taken a lot of heat over the years for being a bit of a diva, made a statement last night to the NL East leading Nats that at least he is not going to roll over and let the Nationals turn this division into a cakewalk. He stepped up in the first inning last night and drilled Nationals rookie phenom Bryce Harper right in the back. He did it deliberately, and admitted it too.
I have always loved Hamels, but this move added a new wrinkle into his persona. He may be from "California" but he is a tough guy. He wanted to show the rookie that he was nobody special and he did, and admitted it. Do all the fashion shows and drink all the fruitinis you want Cole, you're good in my book. The Phillies needed something to get them going this season, Hamels pegging Harper (good on Harper for taking the plunking in stride and stealing home in the same inning as well) might just have done the trick. Afterwards Hamels got beaned in retaliation, pitched 7 more innings of one-run ball, and the Phillies offense erupted for 9 total runs. It all started with one pitch.
Hamels will most likely be suspended since he admitted that he intentionally threw at Harper, but this is exactly the kind of thing the Phillies needed. Hopefully this is the start of something big for the Phightins the rest of the way.