Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels honors David Montgomery and says finishing career in Philly has always been a thought of his

Cole Hamels honors David Montgomery and says finishing career in Philly has always been a thought of his

CHICAGO — Cole Hamels received a special delivery Thursday morning.

He is now in possession of one of the memorial patches that the Phillies are wearing on their game jerseys to honor David Montgomery.

The beloved former club president died earlier this month after a five-year battle with cancer. His initials — DPM — are on the patch that the Phillies wear on their right sleeves.

Hamels requested one and Chris Ware of the Phillies' communications office delivered it before Thursday's game at Wrigley Field.

Hamels said he would love to have worn the patch when he faced the Phillies on Wednesday night. But he now wears a Chicago Cubs uniform and major league baseball rules prevent that.

“David wouldn’t have wanted that anyway,” the pitcher said with a laugh. “He would have said, ‘Don’t get fined for me.’ "

Hamels said he would display the patch in a special place.

“It’s going to be in my locker and I’m going to be staring at it every day,” he said. “It’s important. I’m thankful that I get to play the game of baseball, but what David taught me has made me a better person and man. I got to grow up (in Philadelphia). The lessons that I learned and the maturity I gained had a lot to do with David.”

Montgomery led the Phillies from 1997 to 2014. Hamels was drafted by the Phillies in 2002 and was World Series MVP in 2008. He was traded as part of a rebuild in the summer of 2015.

During his time in Philadelphia, Hamels did more than pitch. He and his wife started a foundation dedicated to charitable causes in the community, particularly those that benefit children and education. Though Hamels now works elsewhere, he continues to do charitable works in the area.

“David kind of introduced me to the power of a platform,” Hamels said. “He helped Jimmy (Rollins), Chase (Utley) and Ryan (Howard) and I to understand what charity is and how to do it, and the Phillies were all about the hands-on in helping us do it throughout a season and providing us with opportunities to make an impact. That’s something that will always go further than baseball.”

When the City of Philadelphia honored Montgomery by naming a Roxborough ball field after him in November, Hamels was there. He actually threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Hamels is 35 now but still has bullets in his left arm. He will be a free agent after this season. He still owns a home in the Philadelphia area.

Hmmm.

“I want to play a couple more years,” he said.

What about finishing his career right back where it started?

“Yeah, but they don’t give multi-year deals anymore to old guys,” he said with a laugh.

Growing serious, he said, “It’s always a thought of mine. I’ll never try to alienate or write somebody off. The team wants to win and I want to win and that’s why I was really lucky that (the Cubs) picked up my option because I know that we have a team that can win and I want to be a part of that.

"I know Philly is finally getting into that where they can make a five-, six-, seven-year run like we did and taking back that division. To be a part of something that special, I would consider it, but I know that I have to play well and everything has to fit. As long as I take care of business on the field, I think that allows the options to be there.”

Philadelphia might be a good one.

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After giving up 7 runs on 856 feet worth of homers, does Cole Irvin get another start?

After giving up 7 runs on 856 feet worth of homers, does Cole Irvin get another start?

CHICAGO — And this is why you need to close out those one-run leads in the ninth inning when you have a chance to take two in a row from the hard-hitting Chicago Cubs in their electric home-field environs of Wrigley Field …

Because sooner or later, the Cubs are going to break out the lumber and lay a beating on you.

That’s just what happened to the Phillies on Wednesday night. Twenty-four hours after they suffered a painful walk-off loss to the Cubs, the Phils were pounded by a score of 8-4 (see observations). The Phils are now tasked with the difficult challenge of beating Jon Lester in Thursday’s series finale to get out of Chicago with a split. Then it’s on to face another lumber company in Milwaukee, the same one that outscored the Phils, 22-6, in the final three games of a four-game series last week in Philadelphia.

The Cubs didn’t need to wait until the ninth inning to beat the Phillies on Wednesday night and they didn’t do it against the bullpen. They teed off on rookie lefty Cole Irvin for 856 feet worth of home runs in the third and fifth innings. Anthony Rizzo belted a mammoth three-run shot in the third and Albert Almora Jr. crushed a first-pitch grand slam in the fifth.

Later in the game, the Cubs got a 449-foot homer from Javiez Baez against Enyel De Los Santos. All of the Cubbies’ runs came on homers.

“The wind was blowing out,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “We saw what it looked like in batting practice. The ball was rocketing out of the ballpark.”

The Phils were only able to rocket one ball out of the yard, but Andrew McCutchen’s solo shot in the eighth was too little too late.

The big subplot in this game was Cole Hamels. The lefty made his first-ever start against his former club. The Phillies jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Hamels, blew up his pitch count and got him out of the game after four innings. But the Phillies needed to do more against Hamels. They left two men in scoring position in the first inning and the bases loaded in the fourth.

“The difference in the game was we really did a good job of building Hamels’ pitch count, but they were able to deliver the knockout blows,” Kapler said. “They scored all of their runs on two swings [against Irvin]. We just weren't able to deliver that one knockout blow, that uppercut. They were able to do that.”

Irvin is a command lefty who can’t afford to miss spots up and over the plate. He tried to go down and away with a 3-0 fastball against Rizzo in the third and the Cubs’ slugger crushed the heart-of-the-plate pitch off the scoreboard to tie the game.

Irvin pitched around Willson Contreras in the fifth to get to Almora. The walk to Contreras loaded the bases and brought pitching coach Chris Young to the mound. The plan was to go at Almora with changeups, but not, as Irvin said, with changeups that were “middle-in and belt high.” Irvin’s first pitch to Almora was right there and the Cubs’ centerfielder crushed it for four runs.

“Unfortunately, I just didn't make my pitch there and didn't make my pitch to Rizzo, either,” Irvin said. “They hurt me for it. I didn’t even get through five innings so I’m really disappointed.”

The big question now is: Will Irvin get another start next week against the Cardinals at home? His performance in his first two big-league starts would suggest that he deserves a look beyond a difficult outing in his third big-league start. But the Phillies can easily go in a different direction because Vince Velasquez is just about ready to come off the disabled list. That issue was talked about extensively before the game (see story).

After the game, Kapler wasn’t ready to make any decisions.

“I think that’s something that we want to spend some time thinking about,” he said. “After a loss like this and after we just kind of got punched, I think the main thing is that we go back and digest and look at what happened in the game and really evaluate it with a little distance between what happened. That’s usually how I approach those things.”

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Cubs 8, Phillies 4: Cubs drop a couple of big bombs on rookie Cole Irvin

Cubs 8, Phillies 4: Cubs drop a couple of big bombs on rookie Cole Irvin

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Chicago Cubs, ranked fourth in the majors in runs per game and OPS, showed off their thunderous lineup in laying an 8-4 beating on the Phillies at sold-out Wrigley Field on Wednesday night.

The Phils actually held an early 3-0 lead on Cole Hamels, who faced his old team for the first time. Hamels did not pitch well, but neither did Phillies rookie Cole Irvin. He allowed seven runs on a three-run homer and a grand slam. All eight of the Cubs’ runs came on homers.

The loss was the Phillies’ second in as many nights against the Cubs. The Phils blew a one-run lead in the ninth on Tuesday night and suffered a walk-off loss.

The Phils remain atop the NL East at 28-21.

The keys

• Irvin is a pitcher who needs to locate well and change speeds. He doesn’t have the stuff to survive in the middle of the plate. He was hurt badly by two juicy pitches over the heart of the plate. Anthony Rizzo crushed a grooved, 3-0 fastball that registered just 87.7 mph high off the scoreboard in right field for a game-tying three-run homer in the third inning and Albert Almora Jr. clubbed a two-out grand slam in the fourth on a first-pitch changeup that was up and over the heart of the plate.

• Phillies hitters made Hamels throw pitches. He ran his count to 99 and was out of the game after four innings. The Phils got to Hamels for three runs, but they could have done more. They left runners at second and third in the first inning and the bases full in the fourth.

Irvin's night

The rookie lefty showed moments of poise. For instance, after serving up the 437-foot, three-run bomb to Rizzo with no outs in the third, he got three quick outs on his way to retiring seven straight. But the walls caved in in the fifth when he gave up a one-out double and two walks to set the table for Almora.

In all, Irvin gave up seven hits, four for extra bases, in 4 2/3 innings. He’s had two good starts and one poor one. The poor one came in an intimidating environment against an intimidating lineup. It would not be surprising if Phillies officials took that into account and stuck with Irvin for his next turn (see story). If they decide against that, they could reinsert Vince Velasquez into the rotation. He’s pretty much recovered from a sore elbow and ready to go and the Phils face a decision on what to do with him (see story).

Center of attention

Scott Kingery got his second straight start in center field and third in four games since coming off the injured list. He misplayed a routine fly ball in the third and it hurt. The ball dropped in for a single and Rizzo followed with his three-run homer. Kingery, primarily an infielder, has not looked completely comfortable the last two nights in center field.

Harper's night

Bryce Harper had three hits, including a bunt single in the Phils’ two-run third inning. Surprisingly, it was the 11th bunt single of Harper’s career and second this season.

Up next

The four-game series comes to an end Thursday afternoon with a good pitching matchup — Aaron Nola (4-0, 4.47) against Jon Lester (3-2, 2.09). The Phils need a win for a series split.

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