Prequel to the Sequel

In the Phillies 2009 preview I wrote at Baseball Daily Digest (if you decide to re- read it, have a good laugh at the Ibanez part), I cited “Prequel to the Sequel” by Between the Buried and Me as the Phils’ “team song”. With the Phils back in Los Angeles, where they clinched their first World Series berth since 1993, I thought it was appropriate to bring it up again.

If you don’t like progressive metal, you probably won’t like the song, but you have to admit that the title is apropos. I am officially branding it the Phillies’ theme song for 2009. That’s right, I have that power (no I don’t).

King Cole Tosses Gem Against NL’s Best Team

The NL’s second-best offense was shut down by Cole Hamels, who threw nine innings of shut-out baseball. He walked none, allowed only five hits, and struck out five. It’s Cole’s — and the Phillies’ — first shut-out of the season and the first since Brett Myers beat the Washington Nationals on August 20 of last season. Cole had two shut-outs last season in a span of about three weeks against the Braves and Reds.

Cole HamelsThe Phils increased their winning streak to seven games and the starting pitching as of late has been immaculate. It took a while, but it seems like the Phillies are finally getting to the point where they’re not relying on late-game grand slams the way they were in April and early May.

According to the Pitch F/X data, of his 95 pitches (in nine innings!), 65 were fastballs, 22 were change-ups, 6 were curve balls, and 2 were sliders. Those sliders, by the way, have to be mislabeled change-ups because Cole does not throw a slider. Seems like that’s the case by looking at the charts at Brooks Baseball.

Here’s some trivia for you: Since 2000, there have been 41 complete nine-inning game shut-outs in which the starter threw 95 or less pitches. Cole’s performance is #42. In that time frame, there have been 331 total CG-SHO’s, meaning that 87% of them saw 96 or more pitches in the outing. Interesting.

With the win tonight and the Mets’ loss (and series sweep) at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies increased their lead in the NL East to four games. Tomorrow night, Jamie Moyer will try to make it eight in a row for the Phightins as he takes on Eric Milton in another battle of the southpaws.