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Should the Phillies start Cole Hamels in Game 7?

Nov 3, 2009, 2:01 PM EDT

Cole Hamels has clarified his headline-grabbing quotes about wanting the season to be over and last night’s incident with Brett Myers may have just been an attempt at humor, but the left-hander’s 7.58 ERA this postseason still has Phillies fans questioning if he’s the right choice for a potential Game 7 start against CC Sabathia.
Charlie Manuel has already picked Pedro Martinez to start tomorrow, but an alternative would have been to give J.A. Happ the Game 6 nod and save Martinez for Game 7. While the notion of a World Series-deciding Martinez-Sabathia matchup is exciting, the Phillies obviously need to win Game 6 before there can be a Game 7 and holding Pedro back for a start that may never arrive would leave Manuel open to tons of criticism.
In other words, worry first about forcing a Game 7 and then worry about how to win a Game 7. If the Phillies win tomorrow night behind a strong outing from Martinez they can go with either Happ or Hamels in Game 7 while also having basically everyone on the pitching staff available in an all-hands-on-deck situation. That wouldn’t have been true with Happ starting Game 6 and Martinez reserved for Game 7.
Of course, the choice between Hamels or Happ is another issue entirely. Back in spring training the notion of going with Happ over Hamels in a World Series-deciding start would have seemed absolutely absurd, but it’s certainly a legitimate question at this point. During the regular season Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA compared to Hamels going 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA, and Hamels has allowed 16 runs in 19 postseason innings.
On the other hand Happ hasn’t started since Game 3 of the NLDS way back on October 11, when he gave up three runs while lasting just three innings against the Rockies. Since then he’s been used strictly as a reliever and has pitched sparingly while not being particularly effective, serving up a homer to Nick Swisher in relief of Hamels in Game 3 and allowing four of 11 batters to reach base.
There are certainly reasonable arguments to be made on all sides. However, like Manuel my choice would be Martinez starting Game 6 with everyone available for a possible Game 7 rather than the other way around, and I’d still go with Hamels over Happ with the season on the line against Sabathia. Hamels started the Phillies’ final playoff game last season and he should get a chance to do the same this year.

  1. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 5:44 PM

    You’re right LMM technically AJ isn’t a bum… he just pitched like one last night. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  2. H R Coursen - Nov 3, 2009 at 5:45 PM

    Yankees threw game five? That has to be one of the more foolish statements in a world full of fools. This is not 1919. No professional team takes the field without intending to win. They may give up after a while, but, last night, they had a legitimate chance to win until Jeter bounced into a db. He did that intentionally? Jeter?

  3. Mo Green - Nov 3, 2009 at 5:48 PM

    Mike D – with your bad self runnin things
    With your bad breath onion rings

  4. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 5:54 PM

    “Well I’m Mike D and I get respect your cash and your jewlery is what I expect!” PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!”

  5. Shely - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    All of this is meaningless. The only thing that counts is game 6. Remember the chant: Pedro Whose your DADDY! It is all over then.

  6. Mo Green - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    MCA was wid it and he’s my ace
    So I grabbed the piano player and I punched him the face

  7. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:16 PM

    Quit living in the past Shely… oh wait wasn’t the year (2004) the “Who’s your daddy?” chant became famous the same year the Yankees laid the biggest egg ever in the history of sport thus giving Pedro the last laugh? ;-) PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  8. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:22 PM

    “Mike D. grabbed the money M.C.A. snatched the gold I grabbed two girlies and a beer that’s cold!” Damn Mo now I’m gonna have to dust off my Licensed to Ill cd and jam it… not that it’s a bad thing but still. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  9. wallyworld31 - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:29 PM

    Start Cliff Lee if there is a game 7…

  10. Ditto - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Start John – he has more confidence than Hamels!

  11. Charlie Manuel - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:38 PM

    Hey John, are you available Thursday? I need a starte – oh, wait. We are going to lose game six to the Yankees. Nevermind…

  12. Woody - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:42 PM

    If the Phillies sucked so bad, nobody would be talking about Game 6 and a possible Game 7. It’s been a good match-up. As for the question posted, Hamels should probably start a Game 7, but I’d have someone warming up at the start of the 4th! :)

  13. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    Wow, Charlie Manuel actually wrote to me asking for advice on… err… hey wait a minute… is someone messing with me? *waves index finger at the cpu* PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  14. Charlie Manuel - Nov 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM

    Hye John, it’s really me, Charlie. Because you have been so resilient (just like my boys), I am going to leave tickets for games 6 & – err, for game 6 at will call. Hope to see you after the ame, so we can watch the Yankee celebration together. Start spreadin’ the news…

  15. RD - Nov 3, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Game 7? Ask the Angels if Pettite is tough. Arod is hot, Damon also
    and Cano, Swisher and Tex broke out of their slumps against phillys
    best pitcher. Also Gardner covers even more ground in center than Victorino. Victorino may have problems throwing and batting, sometimes
    a bad contusion is worse than a break. Yankees in 6.

  16. Evente - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    I marked your words when you said this in regards to the Angels…..how did that work out? Give me a break.

  17. Herbygee - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:12 PM

    A plague on both your houses! Philly fans are arrogant and clueless.
    (those in-game cries of “Yankees Suck”, “CC Sucks”, and yes, “Mariano Sucks” were just ridiculous.)
    Yankee fans are only arrogant, but they expect every other team to roll over and play dead for them and have no respect for good players if they’re not in their dugout. The Pinstripes will win, most likely in six (I’m astounded Pedro did as well as he did in Game 2, but even if he duplicates it, the Phils would have to have like an 8-run lead to hold it with that bullpen). Since I have to live with Yankee fans and only put up with Philly fans 18 times a season, I’ll hope for a miracle. I’m sure you can guess what team I really root for… but let’s not talk about that.

  18. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:14 PM

    Did you really mark my words Evente (what kind of name is that?)for I have a strong feeling you didn’t, so quit lying. But as far as Philly goes you can defintely mark my words. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  19. Evente - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:17 PM

    Thanks, you just proved what kind of person you are. Attacking my name?! How old are you? You act like a 15 year old with nothing better to do than sit in your parent’s basement ridiculing people.

  20. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:18 PM

    I smell a rat for the real Charlie Manuel would never misspell “Hey” as “Hye” and “game” as “ame.” But just in case it is the real you I will be waiting at the Will Call booth for those tickets. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  21. Ditto - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:22 PM

    I was thinking John was more on the line of 35 years old in his parents’ basement, alternatively posting here and bidding on “action figures” on ebay. But he does have spirit. He’s gutsy. He posts with heart. You go, John! Run with your passion! Run like the wind! JOHN IS WRONG!!! YANKEES IN SIX!!!

  22. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:24 PM

    Attacked your name… by asking what kind of name that is? Somebody has anger management issues. PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  23. Evente - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:26 PM

    You may be on to something there!
    As far as my name, John, you would have to ask my mother what kind of name it is; she is the one who chose to give it to me. I’ll tell her you find it intriguing!

  24. John - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:28 PM

    Action figures indeed… by the way have you seen the Iron Man Repulsor Power Figure? It’s top notch!!! PHILLIES IN SEVEN!!! MARK MY WORDS!!!

  25. Charlie Manuel - Nov 3, 2009 at 8:34 PM

    Sorry, John. I am getting kinda old. Sometimes I have as much trouble typing as I do pissing (my prostate is the size of a grapefruit!). Gettin’ old is tough, but not as tough as the Yankees. Game 6 tickets at will call. I will leave them for Inigo Montoya.

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