Signed with minimal expectations, Ben Sheets is providing the Atlanta Braves with a surprising lift in their pursuit of a playoff berth.
Expectations are much greater for Cole Hamels, who the Philadelphia Phillies are banking on to get them in playoff contention for the next half-dozen years.
Pitching for the first time since signing a massive contract, Hamels looks to lead the Phillies to a fifth straight win in Friday night's series opener with the Braves and Sheets, who has yet to allow a run in his return from Tommy John surgery.
After pitching amidst trade rumors for weeks, Hamels (11-4, 3.23 ERA) takes the mound in Atlanta two days after signing a $144 million, six-year contract to stay with Philadelphia (45-54). The deal includes a club vesting option for 2019 and a limited no-trade provision for the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, who gave up five runs and a season-high 10 hits over 7 2-3 innings in Saturday's 6-5, 10-inning loss to San Francisco.
"(The goal) here is to ...