So much for the presence of Cliff Lee taking some of the pressure off Cole Hamels; you can officially take that theory and flush it down the toilet. And down the toilet is exactly where this four game series went today as Hamels was destroyed by the Giants in a 7-3 loss. The Phillies lost 3 of 4 here in the city by the bay.
It all began to unravel in the 5th inning when, with 2 outs in the inning, Giants pitcher Barry Zito nubbed a good luck broken bat single up the middle. Instead of taking it for what it was, a stroke of luck, Hamels let the hit get into his head and chaos ensued. 3 runs later, the Giants moved onto the 6th inning with Hamels still annoyed about the previous disaster and 3 more runs scored in that next inning.
Hamels is looking more and more like a mental patient on the mound instead of an MVP. Can someone please call Dr. Phil? This guy needs a serious sit down. It does not matter how good a pitchers arm is; if he cannot handle the pressure, he will crack. And Hamels is cracking to the point of breaking. Let me ask you this; when Pedro Martinez arrives and one of the starters is going to get bumped to the bullpen, can the Phillies justify doing this to JA Happ when he has outpitched Hamels?
Think I am nuts? Look at the numbers: Hamels has a 7-6 record with a 4.68 ERA. Happ, in 17 fewer innings due to a season start in the pen, has a record of 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA. Hamels is averaging 5 2/3 innings pitched per game for the season; Happ is averaging 6 2/3 in his last 10 starts (could not use games he pitched from the pen, so went with last 10) and therefore, going deeper into games.
Is Cole the staff “ace”? Supposedly. And there is no denying the job he did last season. But why hurt the team while he gets his head on straight? Brett Myers knew that was the wrong thing to do last year when he accepted a minor league assignment in order to straighten himself out. Will Hamels ever follow suit? That is doubtful. Then it is up to the manager to make the decision for him. I am not saying he should be demoted to the minors, but Hamels needs to show this team that he can handle pressure and adjust in tight situations. If he cannot turn things around, I think a “spanking” of some sort is in order here.
And there is my Hamels rant for the day. The rest of the team did not do much this series to help out either. The offense was lacking and defense was sloppy, as evidenced by a Ryan Howard goof today that cost the team another run. In fact, the biggest hit of the day, besides a Jimmy Rollins solo shot, was a double off the bat of Eric Bruntlett that went deep into left field. When the standout star of the day is Eric “I am batting below .150” Bruntlett, you know it is going to be a very bad day.
But tomorrow is another day and the Phillies are still in first place. A three game series with the Rockies may be just what the doctor ordered Tuesday night beginning at 7:05pm.
I will be taking a tour of AT & T Park tomorrow morning and flying home tomorrow evening. I hope to post a review of San Francisco, both the city and the ballpark, sometime on Tuesday. I will also be posting a Photo Album from the entire West Coast trip and all 4 games with the Giants. For now, let’s see if the Phillies return home can spark some offense! Go Phillies!
Photos by Jenn