Cole Hamels goes seven innings in latest rehab start, on track to join Phillies next week

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Cole Hamels was forced to begin the season on the 15-day disabled list after he was slowed this spring with left biceps tendinitis, but all signs point to him being activated next week.

According to Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News, Hamels tossed seven innings of one-run ball tonight with High-A Clearwater in what was likely his final minor league rehab start. The southpaw gave up three hits and one walk while the lone run scored on a solo homer. He threw a total of 81 pitches and struck out two batters.

Through three rehab starts, Hamels has a 2.12 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 17 innings. Most importantly, he hasn’t had any physical issues. If all goes according to plan, he could join the Phillies’ rotation as soon as next Tuesday against the Dodgers.

Braves clinch NL East title

Ender Inciarte
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So much for a last-minute, nail-biting finish to this division race. The Braves cemented their division title with a dominant 5-3 finish over the Phillies on Saturday, laying claim to the NL East title for the first time since 2013.

The Braves asserted themselves right off the bat after amassing a four-run lead from Johan Camargo and Freddie Freeman, both of whom cleared the bases with two-run singles in the first two innings. Ronald Acuna Jr., meanwhile, found another way to make his presence known after swiping his 15th stolen base of the year and joining Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda, and Mike Trout as one of the youngest players to collect at least 25 home runs and 15 stolen bags in major league history.

Not to be outdone, Atlanta right-hander Mike Foltynewicz delivered one of the strongest starts of his season to date. The righty set down six innings of no-hit ball against the Phillies, and, with just 62 pitches under his belt, looked ready to go the distance before he lost his bid on Odubel Herrera‘s leadoff single in the seventh.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Phillies not only upended Foltynewicz’s no-hit attempt, but the shutout as well. In the eighth inning, Cesar Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins wrestled two RBI singles from Atlanta’s bullpen and brought Philadelphia within one run of tying the game. Hoskins was the last Phillies batter to reach base, however, as Jonny Venters and Arodys Vizcaino tossed a combined 1 2/3 scoreless innings (backed by a final RBI hit from Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the eighth) to cap the Braves’ win — and the NL East title.

With the loss, the Phillies sit seven games back of a wild card spot in the National League. They’ll need to outpace the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cardinals in order to make 2018 their first postseason-qualifying year since 2011.