Cole Hamels was dominant, Cody Asche was inspiring and Charlie Manuel was smiling. On the strength of a complete game effort from the lefty on the mound and a sixth inning home run from the next third baseman, the Phillies took game one of a three game set against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves Monday night, winning by a score of 5-1. The win was the 1,000th career victory for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
The Phillies may be long from removed from the postseason picture in 2013, but it was nice to see the kind of effort we saw last night with Hamels on the mound. Hamels struck out nine batters and took a shutout in to the ninth inning, one out away from the feat. Regardless, Hamels had the kind of outing you expect from him and after the game he said he's not ready for the team to just pack up and get ready for 2014.
Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com [link];
"How do you want to go out?" Hamels said following Monday's 5-1 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. "How do you want to be remembered? I know we haven't done it much, but we've got to start something. The pride that we all have, it has to be for something. There are not too many opportunities to play the game of baseball. It's winding down, and we better finish strong."
As Zolecki noted, Hamels has now recorded 96 of Manuel's 1,000 career victories and that does not include seven postseason victories, including four in the 2008 World Series championship run.
Who knows how many more wins are in store for Manuel with the Phillies, but last night we also got a glimpse of what may be to come at third base. Asche had his third multi-hit game since being called up by the Phillies last night. His three-run home run gave Hamels a little breathing room after sitting on a 1-0 lead since the third inning, which Hamels set up himself with his second career triple. The three RBI is now a career high for Asche, who has now played in 13 games. Asche also stole a base to put himself in position for an insurance run in the top of the ninth. It was his first career stolen base. As if that were not enough, Asche also made some fine defensive plays, including an effort to record the final out of the game.
I am not about to start drawing comparisons to great third basemen in franchise history, Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen, but it was refreshing to see what a young third baseman could do at the position. Think about it. Other than a day or two of a bench player at third, we have been watching guys like Michael Young, Placido Polanco and Pedro Feliz at third base for a while now. The Phillies are lining up an infield that will include Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in 2014. If all goes according to plan, perhaps Asche will be a permanent fixture at third to provide some youth.
Carlos Ruiz presented Manuel with a special base signed by the entire team in honor of the manager's milestone victory. He is now the 12th manager to record 1,000 wins in baseball history.
Dear Charlie, Congratulations on your 1,000th win! Love, the entire Phillies team pic.twitter.com/jAXOiovuuS
— Phillies (@Phillies) August 13, 2013