Cole Hamels is 1-8

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Phillies starter Cole Hamels lost his eighth game this afternoon as he was vastly out-dueled by Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in the Nats’ 6-1 victory. Hamels allowed five runs (three earned) in 6.1 innings, striking out six and walking one as his ERA was actually lowered to 4.43. The first two months for Hamels have been shocking, reminiscent of his disappointing 2009 season in which he finished with a 4.32 ERA.

Hamels’ eighth loss leads all Major League starters, one ahead of Edwin Jackson and Joe Blanton. It has been an odd year for many assumed top-tier pitchers:

  • Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: 2-2, 5.37 ERA
  • David Price, Rays: 1-4, 5.24 ERA (on the 15-day DL with strained right triceps)
  • Matt Cain, Giants: 3-2, 5.12 ERA
  • Tim Hudson, Braves: 4-3, 4.98 ERA
  • R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays: 4-6, 4.85 ERA
  • Wade Miley, Diamondbacks: 3-4, 4.53 ERA
  • Yovani Gallardo, Brewers: 3-4, 4.50 ERA

While Hamels has certainly not been nearly as effective as he has been in years past, you have to wonder how many wins he could have lucked into if he had received better run support.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.