Craig Calcaterra

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Cole Hamels #35 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Pete Mackanin does not think Cole Hamels is an ace

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At the outset, it’s worth noting that Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is not saying that Cole Hamels is not good or that he’s not good enough to be a team’s number one starter. No, Mackanin was speaking about pitching in general and premised his comments by saying that there are probably fewer than ten “solid 1s” in all of baseball by his definition. When he’s talking about aces he means “the elite of the elite” not merely “a team’s number one starter.”

Still, these are interesting comments he had about former Phillies starter Cole Hamels:

“I don’t know if I’d call him a No. 1. He might be a No. 2. Those guys are elite. And I love Cole Hamels, don’t get me wrong. It’s debatable.”

Hamels may not be the first guy people name when they think of lights-out, dominant starters, but I think I’d put him in tier one. At the moment he’s in the top five in the American League in ERA and fewest walks among qualified starters. He’s in the top ten in strikeouts and wins. Overall he’s around top-15 this season in all of baseball in a lot of categories. Worth noting, of course, that Hamels ranks high on a year-in-year-out basis, while many of the people ahead of him by certain measures in any given year are flukes or dudes having career years. Hamels has been near the top of the heap every year since he debuted in 2006. Over those 11 seasons he’s fourth in innings pitched, third in strikeouts, third in WAR. Top 10 in just about anything else that matters.

I don’t know if Hamels would be my choice as a starter if Earth needed to win one baseball game against the Martians in order to save humanity. For that I’d pick a healthy Clayton Kershaw or maybe Madison Bumgarner on a day he woke up in a particularly bad mood. But I’d have Hamels on the roster for a series, I think. Either way, if we’re picking top ten in the game to qualify as an ace, I think Hamels qualifies.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

BOSTON, MA - JULY 21:  Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with Travis Shaw #47 after he hit a home run against the Minnesota Twins during the fifth inning at Fenway Park on July 21, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. There are the highlights:

Dodgers 6, Nationals 3: Justin Turner homered twice and drove in five runs. Stephen Strasburg finally lost a game. Which is good. Not because I wish ill of Stephen Strasburg, but because it nips this sort of moronic horse poop in the bud.

Orioles 4, Yankees 1: The O’s salvage one in their four-game set against the Bombers. Chris Tillman won his 14th game after allowing one run over seven and striking out seven. Tillman has won four in a row, actually, and in each of those four starts he’s allowed one run over seven. It’s like he’s been set to repeat. Here’s hoping no one hits “shuffle.”

Marlins 9, Phillies 3: Tom Koehler allowed three runs but only one was earned in eight innings. Ichiro picked up two more hits, bringing him to 2,996 in the bigs. He could reach 3,000 this weekend.

Pirates 5, Brewers 3: Francisco Liriano struck out 13 over six and two-thirds innings. In the AP gamer, the writer described his fastball as “dipping and darting like a bug trying to avoid a fly swatter.” If you have any real fly swatter skills, the bug never knows it’s coming. Also: if you have cats, you don’t need a flyswatter. A fly got in my house yesterday and my cats chased that sucker down. I’m halfway thinking of going out to a field to find a mouse. Hi, I’m Craig, and I work from home.

Red Sox 13, Twins 2: The Sox are cruising. Thirteen runs on seventeen hits. This a day after they notched 11 runs on 16 hits. They’ve won three in a row, nine of ten and sit alone atop the East.

Cardinals 6, Padres 5: The Padres held a 5-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth. St. Louis scored four in that inning to tie it and then Aledmys Diaz hit a walkoff single with two strikes on him and the bases loaded in the ninth. After the game he said that he knew he was going to swing at the payoff pitch because he regretted watching a called strike three with the bases loaded in the All-Star Game. So there you go: the All-Star Game did mean something, for once. Serving as a teaching tool is better than nothing, right?

Tigers 2, White Sox 1: Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera homered for the Tigers’ only run in a rain-shortened game. Not that it was actually all that short for the players as they played for just over two hours and then had to sit through the rain for over two more hours before they finally called it. More like a rain-lengthened game, am I right?

Rockies 7, Braves 3: A three-run homer from Carlos Gonzalez and a solo shot from Nick Hundley paced the Rockies. Colorado has beaten the Braves in Coors Field seven straight times. I remember when Atlanta used to own Colorado. They were 13-0 against them in 1993 AND they stuck them with David Neid. In other news, I am extraordinarily old.

Rays 7, Athletics 3: Tim Beckham played first base despite never having played the position. He went 2-for-4 with a homer. Tomorrow Cash should try him out as a catcher and see what happens.

President Obama welcomes the Royals to the White House

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The Royals, as all World Series champions do, visited the White House today. They presented the president, as all World Series champions do, with a jersey, which will likely end up in his presidential library alongside the Phillies, the Yankees, the Cardinals, the Red Sox and three San Francisco Giants jerseys. Or, I dunno, Maybe Obama wears them out to the mall while wearing gleaming white New Balance sneakers. He is a dad after all.