Hamels Deals In Triple-A Debut

Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels turned in the first dominant outing of the day Thursday, whiffing 14 as Scranton-Wilkes Barre blanked Norfolk, 5-0.

In his Triple-A debut, Hamels allowed just three hits over seven innings and did not walk a batter.

"Cole decided to put on a show today, I guess," Red Barons pitching coach Rod Nichols said. "He pitched with his fastball and put it where he wanted to. Whenever he had a chance to put a hitter away, it seemed like he did it."

Hamels' fastball ranged anywhere from 86-90 mph, topping out at 91. But it was his command and control of the pitch--as well as his ability to throw his curveball and changeup in any count--that allowed him to dominate hitters.

"He's not overpowering in the typical sense--or at least his stuff wasn't overpowering today," Nichols said. "But he's got some deception in his delivery that allows him to get swing-and-miss ability on all his pitches. And he wasn't afraid to throw any one of them up there in any situation."

The Phillies' No. 1 prospect set the stage for his 14-strikeout performance in the first inning, working out of trouble with Chris Basak on third base and two outs. First baseman Juan Tejeda stepped in, eventually working a 3-2 count. But Hamels didn't give in, throwing back-to-back changeups and getting Tejeda swinging on the second one.

"That kind of set up his whole day right there," Nichols said. "After that he was in their heads a little bit and it didn't stop there--he used his changeup in situations like that all afternoon. His demeanor and poise on the mound were just awesome. He's a confident young man, and that's a quality you just can't teach."

Hamels threw 66 strikes in 99 pitches. He started the year at high Class A Clearwater--mostly because the club wanted to keep him in a warm weather environment to start the year--where he went 1-1, 1.77 with 29 strikeouts in 20 innings.

The 14 strikeouts set a new record for a lefthander in Scranton Wilkes-Barre history, and were the most recorded against the Tides since Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd fanned 15 in 1984.