Cole Hamels is cocky, manager Charlie Manuel said. Good cocky. And he likes it.
"That's great that my manager thinks I'm cocky," Hamels said. "Really, I just have the confidence to go out there. I have a team behind me that believes in me, and I will be able to do the job the right way if I focus and really hit my locations."
Hamels has done that this postseason. He is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 postseason innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits to win Game 1 and is scheduled to start Game 5 tonight.
Hamels, who grew up playing in a deep San Diego area talent pool, learned as a teenager that a mid-90s fastball was not enough. He didn't have one anyway, didn't until he was almost 20 and playing for Clearwater in the FSL, so he developed a circle change that has become one of baseball's best.
"Every time you hand him the ball, you expect to win the game," Manuel said.
BOOM:Joe Blanton's fifth-inning home run off Edwin Jackson was the first of his career and the first by a pitcher in the World Series since Oakland's Ken Holtzman in 1974.
WERTH IT?: Manuel said he might have a chat with Jayson Werth after he was picked off second base Saturday night, marking his second major baserunning gaffe of the Series. Manuel still likes his aggressiveness: "I'm sure he knows the mistakes he made. He's got to correct them. Like he's got to make sure that he don't keep doing the same mistake over and over."
Werth was doubled off first base in Game 2.
BRING IT: SS Jimmy Rollins didn't seem to care that umpire Tom Hallion admitted he'd made a mistake ruling Carl Crawford safe on a bunt in the sixth inning on Saturday. 1B Ryan Howardbarehanded a scoop from P Jamie Moyer in time. Hallion said he relied on the sound of ball on glove.
"These guys are here because they're some of the best," Rollins said. "If they're not in position (to make a sight call), they need to work to be in position."
Good thing for Rollins that crew chief Tim Welke wasn't in position in the first inning Sunday. Rays 3B Evan Longoria appeared to tag Rollins as he returned to third on a Howard chopper fielded by Andy Sonnanstine, but Rollins was ruled safe. He scored on a bases-loaded walk by Pat Burrell.