Prior to the first Phillies spring training game, Jayson Stark reported that the buzz around the Phillies' clubhouse wasn't focused on Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. It was about Cole Hamels. Players remarked to Stark about how hard he was throwing and what kind of shape he showed up in, leading Stark say that if Cole was supposed to be the 4th starter on this team.. he hadn't gotten the memo. So far in spring training, that report has proven to be prophetic.
Hamels went four scoreless innings against the Red Sox striking out 3 on 50 pitches. He allowed just one hit against a nearly full strength Red Sox lineup. Hamels' performance was matched, if not exceeded by the bullpen including Scott Mathieson, Mike Stutes, and Juan Perez who combined to hold the Red Sox hitless for the remainder.
In 6 innings of spring work so far(all against the Yankees & Red Sox full lineups), Hamels has given up 2 hits, no runs and opponents are hitting .095 against him. He's also struck out 5.
As for the ongoing right field battle, it was more bad news for Domonic Brown. The Phillies only two runs came from Ben Francisco (who led the team with 2 hits) and John Mayberry Jr., who both also happen to be Brown's competition for the starting right field job. Brown's line? If you've followed the games this spring you can probably guess it, 0-3.
Brown is now 0-15 with 9 strikeouts this spring. Ben Francisco on the other hand is 6-16 with 6 RBI in 6 games and he's getting on base at a .444 clip. Ben Francisco is not that good and Domonic Brown is not that bad, but it does clearly illustrate the opposite starts the two have had to this spring.