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Hamels lets down Phillies one more time

Nov 1, 2009, 12:46 AM EDT

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.

  1. Brenda - Nov 1, 2009 at 1:16 AM

    Hamels isn’t what he was a year ago. He hasn’t been all year. The Phillies got to the playoffs and WS inspite of him, instead because of him.

  2. Yankee Jack - Nov 1, 2009 at 2:11 AM

    Regardless, the Phils are making a mistake by holding Lee for game 5.

  3. Joe Torre - Nov 1, 2009 at 3:30 AM

    As Jimmy Rollins said “We’ll win it in 5”

  4. Doug - Nov 1, 2009 at 4:34 AM

    Why don’t they start using replay reviews in baseball for all those bad calls, they have a huge effect on game outcomes.

  5. Bree - Nov 1, 2009 at 5:40 AM

    I don’t for the life of me understand this 3 days rest thing, etc.
    This is the World Series! Wouldn’t Lee go tonight if asked? I’ve watched baseball all my life but I’ve never understand some of the logic (or lack thereof) of setting the pitching rotation. I want the Phillies to win so badly and thought Hamels might pull through initially; he looked better than Petitte in the early innings. It’s do or die tonight for the Phils!!

  6. Bree - Nov 1, 2009 at 5:42 AM

    I don’t for the life of me understand this 3 days rest thing, etc.
    This is the World Series! Wouldn’t Lee go tonight if asked? I’ve watched baseball all my life but I’ve never understand some of the logic (or lack thereof) of setting the pitching rotation. I want the Phillies to win so badly and thought Hamels might pull through initially; he looked better than Petitte in the early innings. It’s do or die tonight for the Phils!!

  7. Dottie Aurentz - Nov 1, 2009 at 6:30 AM

    Win or lose, the Phillies have been my favorite team all of my life, and I will never give up on them. My brother, who was recently hospitalized with a massive stroke, says they will win the world series again this year. A win for the Phils would give Him a boost in His recovery.
    Ryan, please try to step it up a notch. I know you can do it.
    Bree, I totally agree, Cliff needs to go out there today and get us another win. Don’t wait for the fifth game.
    Good luck, Phillies.

  8. Hank - Nov 1, 2009 at 6:42 AM

    Hamels has developed a bit of Brett Myers in his pitching psyche. As soon as a border-line/bad call happens, or something doesn’t go as planned (the Utley errors in the NLDS) he gets upset, loses focus and there goes the game. The Texeria walk undid him. Instead of just letting it go, he fumed about it then came the A-Rod homer. Seen it a lot this year from him and hardly at all last year.

  9. Various_Authors - Nov 1, 2009 at 6:48 AM

    Sorry, kids, but Lee CAN’T pitch tonight. If a pitcher is to pitch on short rest the team starts preparing him for it days in advance. I’ve read a few articles that said Lee is not prepared to start tonight’s game.
    Sorry about your brother, Dottie, but my son has been mentally handicapped his entire life, and a Yankee World Series victory would be priceless for him. And Jimmy Rollins needs to be taught a lesson as well.

  10. SixersFan - Nov 1, 2009 at 6:48 AM

    was watching the Sixers-Knicks game instead and got to see Marbury kicked out of his seat at least

  11. mattfrom brrolkyn - Nov 1, 2009 at 7:54 AM

    We are talking baseball here, not basketball.

  12. BronxBobby - Nov 1, 2009 at 9:37 AM

    Cliff Lee’s never pitched on 3 days rest his entire career…whereas the yankees 3 starting pitchers have done it and 2 of them *sabathia and Burnett* have been outstanding. What would be worse for the Phillies is to throw Lee out there and he tanks on 3 days rest and not be available for what would be a potential clinching game for the yankees. I think the phillies are done either way.

  13. PhillyMike - Nov 1, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    Cole Hamels is weak minded and overrated. Victorino has a zero baseball IQ cause he plays stupid. The heart of the order could not hit water if they fell out of a boat. Thanks for nothing Phillies.Way to let a city and a legend down. This team and this city for that matter are second rate to New York. Always have been Always will be. New York does not need Rally Towels, A Pep Rally on Broadway, nor does it need a mascot. Philly fans wanted New York-Well we got em-Hope your happy with results-we should all enjoy the humble pie we just got fed. It pains me to do it but congratulations to the New York Yankees on being 2009 World Champions. Hopefully one day-Philadelphia will be equally as good a city and team as you.

  14. Ejcsr - Nov 1, 2009 at 12:51 PM

    Mike, I agree Hamels is weak. He has shown, this season that he is not a team player. He said last night that’he couldn’t wait for the season to be over’, WHAT?? What kind of professional says that? The phillies are only 1 game behind right now, you seem to be jumping of the wagon pretty quickly. I am very angry about last night’s game. I couldn’t care less about the mascot or rally towels. I care about Howard hitting the damn ball! I respect the yankees, they are great. It is like playing an entire team of allstars. They can afford to get all these guys, so they do. I’m fine with that. Let’s play hard, keep our mouths shut(Rollins), and hit the damn ball! Please stop kissing the altar of new york, it’s the biggest city! Hard to compare. Not all of them are classy, just take a look at the ny post! Hang in there Mike!

  15. Crash - Nov 1, 2009 at 4:43 PM

    PhillyMike you’re either a new york poser or from Philadelphia, Missisippi. You certainly aren’t from Philly, PA and you’re certainly not a Phillies fan. Having said that, you make a couple fair points. Love Victorino’s energy, but question his baseball brain many times. Good game Yanks, but this thing ain’t over yet.

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