Cole Hamels wandered aimlessly around the infield grass Friday night after his $144 million arm failed once again. He peeked toward center field, and not yet knowing the ball's fate, started walking in a circle. Finally, when a fat 92 m.p.h. fastball landed as a three-run Brian McCann home run, Hamels paused and stared into the night.
"It was a long week," Hamels said later.
There is no explaining how a pitcher two days removed from signing one of the largest contracts in baseball history authored a first act as gruesome as the Phillies' 6-1 loss to the Braves at Turner Field. His erratic night snapped a four-game team winning streak.
Hamels walked six batters, a career high. He threw more balls than strikes, a first when firing at least 100 pitches. He relied heavily on his cutter, and not his powerful fastball.