Hamels lets down Phillies one more time

Leave a comment

It seems like the story has been repeated several times this year. Cole Hamels came out firing again Saturday, keeping the Yankees hitless through three innings. The only one of the first 11 hitters to reach did so on a HBP. And then it all fell apart, too quickly for Charlie Manuel to do much of anything about it. Mark Teixeira walked and Alex Rodriguez homered in the fourth. In the fifth, four of the first five batters delivered hits, resulting in three runs. Hamels left down 5-3, and the Yankees ended up winning 8-5.
For the fourth straight postseason start, Hamels failed to last six innings. He’s given up 16 runs and seven homers in 19 innings. Compare that to the 2008 postseason, when he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA and gave up two homers in 35 innings.
The search for a reason has been on for months. How could one of the league’s best be so consistently mediocre for so long? His strikeout, walk and home run rates are practically identical to his 2008 marks. His groundball rate is actually up slightly. His velocity readings are essentially the same.
Pitch tipping? It’d be the easiest explanation, but it’s one the Phillies have surely examined time and time again. I think a big part is that the league has gotten smarter about laying off his excellent changeup. Hamels has never had a remarkable fastball, and his curve is average at best. If you swing at those pitches, you have a pretty good chance against him.
Unable to come back after Hamels departed, the Phillies are now down 2-1 in the World Series. Andy Pettitte wasn’t great, but he neutralized the left-handers — Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez combined to go 0-for-12 with seven strikeouts in the game — and that ensured that both of Jayson Werth’s homers were solo shots. Alex Rodriguez, the redeemed Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui went deep for the Yankees in the victory.
The Phillies, so confident after Game 1, can’t be feeling good about things now. The decision to back up Cliff Lee to Game 5 leaves them with essentially no choice other than to start Hamels in a potential Game 7. J.A. Happ would be the alternative, and he’ll probably be too burnt from relief work. The Yankees, meanwhile, are all set to go with CC Sabathia against Joe Blanton on Sunday. The Phillies will have to pull off quite an upset to avoid falling behind 3-1.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
8 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 0: Zack Greinke tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and hit a triple and scored. Greinke has won four straight decisions and has a 15-inning scoreless streak. The Snakes sweep the four-game set in Pittsburgh.

Indians 2, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer matched up with his old college teammate and longtime personal nemesis Gerrit Cole. Like, real nemesis, not just baseball nemesis. They don’t like each other. It’s so weird to have that happen in baseball where everyone at least acts like they like one another but, nah, the two of ’em don’t get along and haven’t since they were back at UCLA. Kinda fun in an “I enjoy chaos” kind of way. Anyway, Bauer got the best of it here, allowing only one run in eight innings while Cole gave up two and struck out ten. Homers accounted for all of the scoring: Leonys Martin and Jake Bauers for Cleveland, George Springer for the Astros.

Dodgers 2, Cubs 1: All the Dodgers did was score on a sac fly and an error, but ’twas enough. ‘Twil serve. Jon Lester came back off the injured list for the Cubs and looked good but Ross Stripling and a bunch of relievers held the Chicago offense in check.

Reds 4, Braves 2: Luis Castillo continues to be outstanding for Cincinnati, scattering eight hits over six shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 1.23 over six starts on the year. He got into trouble in the seventh, however, loading the bases without retiring a batter. Reliever David Hernandez came in, though, and struck out Dansby SwansonEnder Inciarte and Ozzie Albies to end the threat. Per my mailbag question on that the other day: THAT is definitely striking out the side. Eugenio Suárez drove in three of the Reds’ four runs.

Marlins 3, Phillies 1: A pitchers duel that was 1-1 at the end of regulation, but Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to hand the Phillies their sixth loss in their last eight.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: I’ve been asked a few times lately if I think the Sox will turn it around. Yeah, I think the Sox will turn it around. There’s just too much offense on this team and they’ll put together a lot of days like this one. Michael Chavis hit a two-run homer and Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts each hit two doubles apiece. Suddenly Boston has won five of seven. They’re like last year’s Dodgers. We’ll all wonder what’s wrong with them until there’s, suddenly, nothing wrong with them.

Angels 11, Yankees 5: The Yankees had a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning and it looked like a four-game sweep was in the offing, but then Tommy La Stella and Kole Calhoun hit two-run home runs and David Fletcher drove in five runs the rest of the way and the Angels won in a laugher.

Mariners 14, Rangers 2: Marco Gonzales struck out nine, scattered six hits and didn’t walk a batter in seven scoreless innings while picking up his big league leading fifth win of the year. And, uh, he had a good deal of run support while doing it. Ryon Healy was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Tim Beckham hit his sixth homer and drove in three himself as the M’s scored 14 runs on 14 hits.

I’m out the rest of the day as I’m off to Kentucky to watch horses jump over things. Well, actually, I’ll be manning the grill at the tailgate while everyone else watches horses jump over things. When you marry a horse person (i.e. a person who is into horse stuff, not a half-person, half-horse) this is the kind of stuff you do.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.