What a season for Cole Hamels.
He was clearly one of the few bright spots for the entirety of the year in Philadelphia, and that continued today as he fanned eight over seven innings in the Phillies 4-1 win. The victory gave him 17 on the season, a new career high. And with those eight strikeouts, he reaches 216 for the season, also a new high.
It’s been a season of lows for a Phillies team scratching to stay above the .500 mark, but Hamels has been a constant bright spot. Can you imagine if the Phillies had not signed him at midseason? Phillies fans would be freaking out as the season comes to a close. At least the fans can rest easy that he’ll be here a long time.
Carlos Ruiz had three hits and knocked in his 68th run of the season. Hamels was the MVP of the pitchers, Ruiz obviously the MVP on the offensive side.
Domonic Brown didn’t have any hits, but he did knock in a run and showed off his arm as he gunned down Giancarlo Stanton at home plate.
Now the question becomes, can the Phillies finish the season over .500 as they play the final three games in Washington.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins
Just four games remain for the Phillies this year and they need this one if they want to make the push for a .500 season.
Funny how quickly things change. It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating a playoff berth, then a World Series title, then another trip to the Fall Classic. The Phillies have fallen on hard times, but it’s no time to abandon ship. Just remember you’ll be pining for baseball in about a month, so soak it all in now while you still can.
It will also be the final time you’ll see Cole Hamels on a mound until 2013. It’s a joy watching him pitch and I think I speak for many when I say it’ll be nice having him around for the long haul.
After last night’s long one in Miami, I’m sure the players will be swinging early and often, so watch for Hamels to go deep.
Your Gameday Beer – Great Lakes Oktoberfest
The tasty beverage is from Ohio but is available around the northeast and midwest, winning several brewing awards in the past ten years. The beer brings it at 6.5%, but is so tasty that you wont recognize the alcoholic content. Enjoy.- Pat Gallen
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Miami Marlins
Ryan Howard is officially out for the remainder of the regular season due to a broken toe he suffered when he dropped a lead pipe on it in the on-deck circle; the one he swings as he prepares for an at bat. That adds more injury to injury and insult, a terrible way to end a season for a guy who struggled to get it going after being sidelined several months following achillies tendon surgery.
The broken toe will not affect his offseason workouts as he prepares to come back and be the Big Piece of old in 2013. The Phillies will need that as he’ll be in just the second year of a contract paying him $25 million.
As for tonight’s matchup, Roy Halladay makes his final start of the season against Ricky Nolasco.
Darin Ruf makes his first ever start at first base.
Your Gameday Beer – Weyebacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
You wanna get popped? Weyerbacher Pumkin Ale will getcha. It’s 8.0% ABV, but pours a beautiful reddish-orange color, so it’s a deceiving redhead. Lovely, but will punch your face. It’s another pumpkin beer with a heavy allspice presence, which is a bit too much for my liking. However, it’s one of the best . – Pat Gallen
We're not at Adirondack Phantoms training camp in Voorhees this Saturday, but if there's one story that's emerging from the halls of the Flyers Skate Zone during Day 1, it's clearly that Flyers pest Zac Rinaldo wants to become more than just Flyers pest Zac Rinaldo.
Hmm, this sounds familiar.
"For me I want to build my confidence and just play hockey while I'm with the Phantoms," Rinaldo said. "I want to keep things simple... I'm going to take [playing in the AHL] as a positive and use it as an opportunity to become a better hockey player because that's what I want to do."
And from 2011, via The Hockey Guys:
"Maybe show off my skills a little more (this year) because I haven't really been doing that at all," Rinaldo said earlier this summer at Developmental Camp. "They're there; I just really haven't brought them out."
"It sucks, it really sucks (when people view you as only a fighter), every one busts my balls all the time," Rinaldo said. "Put me on the first or second line for a couple games you'll see a different player."
Rinaldo seems to be spinning the exact same message he did a year ago. He wants to be viewed as more than a fighter. That he has actual hockey skill that can benefit the Philadelphia Flyers.
To their credit, the Flyers seem supportive of Rinaldo's desire to turn himself into a complete hockey player, and unlike years prior, he'll likely get more of an opportunity to improve with the Phantoms at the start of this AHL season. He'll have the chance to play a much larger role than perhaps he ever has at a high-level of competition -- certainly at a professional level.
Rinaldo seems to be setting his focus on a penalty killing role, which in a weird way makes sense if he can possibly keep himself under control. The penalty kill is a grind and Rinaldo has the attributes of a grinder. He can skate, too, which certainly helps his case.
But this all still comes down to one thing: Can Rinaldo keep himself under control? It's the exact same question that faced him a year ago, and our answer is still exactly the same: We'll believe it when we see it.
Rinaldo was the most-penalized player in the Ontario Hockey League in both 2008-09 and 2009-10, his last two Major Junior seasons. In his first pro season with the Phantoms in 2010-11, he had 331 penalty minutes in 60 games -- over five minutes a game. He finished just three minutes behind Albany's Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, but PLL played four extra games than Zac.
With the Flyers a year ago? Here's CSNPhilly.com's Tim Panaccio today, summarzing Rinaldo's 2011-12:
Rinaldo, who came to the Flyers as a ticking time bomb two seasons ago, had made enormous strides to harness his on-ice anger into doing positive things. Seldom did he fly off the handle last season.
Not exactly. Rinaldo may not have been as reckless as he once was, but that's not exactly a tough feat considering his past. In 2011-12, Rinaldo was suspended once for a hit against the Red Wings and was fined on two other occasions, both after the same February game against New Jersey.
Not the laundry list of infractions he had seen in years past, sure. But while he may not have needed attention from Brendan Shanahan all that often (at least comparatively) last season, Rinaldo still finished the season with 232 penalty minutes. Again, much like 10/11 in the AHL, the only reason he didn't finish in the league lead was because Derek Dorsett of the Columbus Blue Jackets played 11 extra games and finished three minutes ahead of him.
A player at or near the top of the league's PIM leaders is not an under control hockey player, nor is he a player making "enormous strides" to get himself under control. It doesn't matter which way you slice it.
Rinaldo can say he wants to be a complete hockey player. Peter Laviolette and Terry Murray can say how they believe he has the ability to become a complete hockey player. But as long as he's in the running to be the most penalized player in the entire league -- regardless of what league that is -- it's really hard to buy what Zac Rinaldo is selling. I'll believe it when I see it.
According to a report in the National Post, Ed Snider would be an integral part in managing and operating the proposed 20,000 seat arena in Markham, a northern suburb of Toronto. Global Spectrum, Snider's former company that he later sold to Comcast-Spectacor, a corporation he now chairs, has agreed to a partnership with the arena.
For some time now - at least since 2008 - rumors have pointed to the NHL adding a second franchise to the Toronto area. Now, with plans to build an arena progressing, the group has announced business partnerships with two of the most influential owners in the NHL - Ed Snider and Jeremy Jacobs.
While Graeme Roustan, former head of Bauer, denies that the partnerships are designed to curry favor with the NHL, the pieces are all there to suggest a strong push for another NHL franchise in the Toronto area is on the horizon. With the Chairman of the NHL's Board of Governors - Bruins' owner Jeremy Jacobs - as well as Ed Snider signed on, there are considerable ties between the Markham arena and the NHL's decision makers.
From the Post's story:
Snider is chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, and a subsidiary, Global Spectrum, has been enlisted as an adviser for planning the arena in Markham. If the building is approved by city council, Global Spectrum will manage and operate it.
At least two Markham councillors have claimed local representatives have met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, though. One of them, regional councillor Joe Li, told the National Post in April: "Spending that kind of money just for culture and entertainment? Come on. We won't even break even."
For pretty obvious reasons, any intention to bring another NHL team to Toronto will not be served by publicly lobbying for one before ground is even broken. But at this point, a second team in Toronto just makes far too much sense.