Myers calls out Hamels: 'I thought you quit'

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hamels-091102.standard[1].jpgPhillies pitcher Cole Hamels dropped a rather shocking quote after pitching poorly in a loss to the Yankees in Game 3, saying he couldn’t “wait for it to end. It’s been mentally draining. At year’s end, you just can’t wait for a fresh start.”

His comments stunned manager Charlie Manuel, who said he “didn’t understand it”, and apparently didn’t sit well with at least one of his teammates, leading to a confrontation after Game 5 (via Yahoo!):

Phillies pitchers Brett Myers and Cole Hamels had a short but tense confrontation in the team’s clubhouse following Game 5 of the World Series, according to one witness, words that stemmed from Hamels’ recent statement that he was eager for his season to end.
As Myers walked past Hamels near Hamels’ locker he said, mocking, “What are you doing here? I thought you quit.”

According to the report, Hamels responded with a word you can’t print in a family baseball blog, and then was led away by a team official before things could get out of hand.

If Myers is willing to call out Hamels in the locker room, you have to wonder if there are others on the team thinking along the same lines. As if the Phillies don’t have enough problems in trying to take two from the Yankees in the Bronx, now they have a potential clubhouse rift.

On top of everything else, if the Phillies manage to take Game 6 behind Pedro Martinez, Hamels is on schedule to start Game 7. Do Manuel and company really want to put a guy out there in that situation who might not be mentally ready to go?

To Hamels’ credit, he clarified his comments on Monday, essentially admitting he was dumb, and that he had lost sleep over the mini-controversy.

“I went to Charlie just to talk to him because that’s who I am, and I think he understands that,” Hamels said. “I just wanted to tell him my true thoughts – that I’ll never ever quit. I want to play this game until somebody takes it away from me.

He’ll never quit. No matter how badly he wants the season to be over. Stay tuned for a potential Game 7. Things could get interesting.

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In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.