CLEARWATER, Fla. Cole Hamels wanted to work on his fastball location Tuesday. The Dominican Republic wanted to work on smoking the living heck out of baseballs in preparation for the World Baseball Classic.
Hamels got his work in, the Dominican Republic got its work in, and then some. And then some more.
Hamels allowed 12 hits and eight runs and didn't get out of the third inning, and the D.R. still had 16 hits and seven runs left in its free-swinging lineup full of All-Stars as it swamped the Phils, 15-2, at Bright House Field in an exhibition game.
What an exhibition it was. Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez no longer make up the Marlins' left side of the infield, but they each homered for the D.R., as did Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.
Only Reyes' long ball came against Hamels, who hardly had time to catch his breath as the D.R. went to the plate hacking. According to pitching coach Rich Dubee, an irritated Hamels went off-script and threw three straight cutters to Reyes to strike him out looking in the second.
"Cole knows they're all fastball hitters over there," Dubee said. "He can't think about results right now. His goal was get 60 pitches in and try to command his fastball."
Hamels, who never has been one to put up great numbers in the Grapefruit League, tried to keep it in perspective.
"Yeah, they're pretty notorious for it," Hamels said of the D.R.'s lineup and its reputation for swinging early in counts. "I can't get off my game plan, because thank goodness it doesn't count. So, that's the situation where I have a game plan of what I'm trying to execute, no matter what their game plan is. So if it hits at the wrong time, which a lot of the pitches did, obviously it's not going to look good for what I'm trying to do.
"They've got a great team and I've faced a lot of those guys throughout the years. They're really good hitters."
It isn't exactly anything new to see Reyes and Ramirez give Hamels a hard time. They both are among the five most frequently faced hitters in the southpaw's career. Reyes is a .393 lifetime hitter against him; of Ramirez's 17 career hits off Hamels, 10 are doubles and two homers. Throw in Miguel Tejada (6-for-10 lifetime vs. Hamels) and the result gains logic.
Hey, but good news for Phillies fans: For the first time ever, neither Reyes (traded this winter to Toronto) nor Ramirez (traded last season to the Dodgers) are with National League East teams anymore.
"I think I only threw four pitches to Hanley, and they were all fastballs," Hamels said. "So that's a little bit different than what I'd normally do."
Hamels' next start is Sunday against the Astros, who should have a slightly more manageable batting order.
The spring isn't getting any better for Darin Ruf, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Tuesday and misplayed a third-inning Ramirez fly ball in left field into one of his two doubles.
Although Tuesday's game won't play into the Grapefruit League stats, counting that collar Ruf is 3-for-27 with nine strikeouts this spring. Yikes.
Making matters worse is that the early start to games this spring because of the WBC means that a tactic often used for struggling players at-bats in minor-league games isn't an option for Ruf for another week.
"Right now things aren't going well for Ruf," Charlie Manuel said. "He'll be all right. He isn't the only guy ever to come to spring training and get off to a slow start … He's not going to go his whole life with all collars."
NOTES: Closer Jonathan Papelbon had been scheduled to pitch Tuesday, but was scratched due to illness. Thankfully, it wasn't a save situation. … Laynce Nix hit a solo homer in the second and had both RBIs for the Phils. … Ryan Howard made his 12th straight spring-training start at first base and went 0-for-3 at the plate. Guess what: He is starting again today when the Phils host the Nationals. … Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz and Ben Revere all had Tuesday off. Expect a lineup loaded with starters against the Nats. Roy Halladay starts on the mound. Washington has Stephen Strasburg on the hill. … The last four pitchers to work for the D.R. Tuesday Mauricio Robles, Juan Sosa, Edgar Garcia and Mike Cisco were loaners from the Phils' system. They combined to allow one run and five hits in three innings of work. ... Outfielder Delmon Young had an appointment with a physician in California Tuesday afternoon. The Phils expect to have an update on his progress from ankle surgery this morning.