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After seeing Justin Verlander’s monstrous contract extension, the Phillies certainly got a bargain by signing Cole Hamels for $144 million, but he did not pitch like he is worth that kind of money on Opening Night.
The Phillies’ ace struggled against the Braves, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, including three home runs. It was a typical Hamels performance. He had his changeup and breaking ball on point, but left a few fast balls hanging, resulting in powerful home runs and extra base hits. When Hamels avoids these mistakes or opposing players don’t take advantage, he can go complete games with plenty of strikeouts.
Too many times last night, Hamels had two strikes on the batter and would try—and fail—to blow it by them with a fastball, almost as if he was trying to prove that he had improved that pitch since last season. Hamels gave up 24 home runs last year, which was 16th-most in the NL.