David Murphy: Phillies' talks with Cole Hamels dictate trade-deadline strategy
EVEN FROM the perspective of somebody who has spent much of the last 4 months chronicling the struggles of this Phillies team, the sight of Hunter Pence fielding questions about trade rumors from a swarm of reporters before Tuesday night's game was a jarring one. The rightfielder appeared to feel the same way, his voice carrying with it a hint of incredulity as he said all the right things about the speculation. These are unprecedented times at Citizens Bank Park. For all of the on-the-job training Ruben Amaro Jr. received under Ed Wade and Pat Gillick, nothing could have prepared him for the decisions he will face in the 7 days that remain before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline. His clubhouse seems intent on making those decisions as difficult as possible, the latest example coming in the eighth inning on Tuesday night, when the Phillies scored six runs to seize an improbable 7-6 victory over the Brewers. The energy that pulsed through the ballpark was impossible to ignore. All of the ills that had plagued the team during the first half of the season appeared to be cured, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard drawing pivotal walks to load the bases, Carlos Ruiz following them with a game-tying three-run double, and Pence following that with a bloop single over the second baseman's head to plate the eventual game-winner.
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