Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was asked Thursday by CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury where he envisions left-hander Cole Hamels opening the 2013 season:
“He’ll be here,” Rollins replied. “He’s not going anywhere. He was drafted by this organization, raised by this organization and became a superstar in this organization. If you know anything about this organization, that means he’s not going anywhere. It’s fun to talk about for talk radio and stuff like that. But he’s not going anywhere. That’s my opinion.”
It’s exactly the type of thing you’d expect a teammate to say, but Rollins is probably being too optimistic. Hamels has registered a sparkling 2.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 405 strikeouts and just 105 walks over the past two seasons and could hit the jackpot in free agency if his ace-like numbers continue in 2012. For him to sign now with Philadelphia, it would take a contract extension worth well over $100 million. And there’s been no indication from general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. that an offer like that is coming. The Dodgers, who will soon have a new, deep-pocketed owner, are likely to be major players in the Hamel sweepstakes if the 28-year-old southpaw indeed reaches the free agent market.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.