Last year on Halloween Day, the Phillies were celebrating by parading down Broad Street. This year on Halloween Day, they took a spanking from the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series with an 8-5 loss after a 1 hour and 20 minute rain delay. Cole Hamels did not follow my instructions and wear his “Hamels: Version 2008” costume for the occasion. Instead, Hamels 2009 took the mound and gave up 5 runs in 4 1/3 innings on 5 hits and 2 walks. A scary Halloween, indeed, complete with cloudy skies, rain and a 1-2 game deficit in the series.
This has been the story for Cole all year long; he simply cannot be counted on. He pitched well for 3 innings and then lost composure on a walk to Mark Teixeira that he felt should have been a strikeout in the 4th. A-Rod batted next and launched a controversial home run; the ball hit a FOX TV camera which was sticking out over the field. Instant Replay showed the hit and by rule, the interference made it a home run. This brings up another point: why is a TV camera sticking out over the field? They cannot back up a few inches? That simply should not be allowed. Way to go FOX.
It all fell apart after that. Once again, even though Cole showed signs of impending disaster, manager Charlie Manuel sent him out for the 5th and again, left him in way too long. He even allowed an RBI single to the pitcher, Andy Pettitte, who almost never picks up a bat. 3 runs later and this game was going downhill fast. The bullpen could not hold the Yanks to those 5 either. The next 3 relievers allowed one run a piece in each of the next 3 innings.
Add to that the horrible offensive display and Phillies fans are having flashbacks to slumps from earlier in the season. The Yankees who had not been hitting in this series, like A-Rod and Nick Swisher, found Hamels to be the cure. And the Phillies who were performing all post-season long, like NLCS MVP Ryan Howard, have seemingly lost their bats and cannot find them anywhere.
Jayson Werth looked to be the only Phillie interested in hitting; he knocked two solo home runs in the game. Carlos Ruiz also hit a solo homer and walked twice. The other 2 runs came off a walk to Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded and a Shane Victorino sac fly. And that was basically the sum total of the offense.
Another item that irks me here: Eric Bruntlett was put in as a pinch hitter with a man on base in a situation where a home run was really what they needed. Why not Matt Stairs? Bruntlett should never be used as a pinch hitter unless they are looking to bunt. He had a terrible season and looks like he could not hit the side of a barn. Not to mention, he almost never hits homers.
As for Hamels, he is lined up to pitch Game 7, if it goes that far. In my opinion, this should not even be a consideration. Hamels has proven all year that he cannot get the job done, especially under pressure. He should be done. Come up with a mystery injury, replace him on the roster with another bullpen arm or bench player and send in Cliff Lee on short rest with JA Happ as his back-up. If I was in charge, that is what would happen. But since I am not in charge, hang on Phillies fans, it is going to be a bumpy ride if this goes 7 games.
The Phillies can try to tie up the series tonight with a win, but it will be Joe Blanton against CC Sabathia. Blanton has not done very well this post-season and is sporting a 4.66 ERA. Sabathia is the better pitcher, but does have awful memories of last post-season to overcome, including his lost battles with Brett Myers at the plate, a Grand Slam by Victorino and the banter of the home crowd. Plus he is on 3 days rest, same as that game last year where the Phillies beat up on him when he was with the Brewers.
My tummy hurts just thinking about this. Plus, I have an awful hangover from last night’s game, and I did not drink anything but water. Yet somehow, the nausea and headache still persist. Hmmmmm….wonder why? ;o)
Here is the full Photo Album from Game 3. I took a lot of photos of both teams, something I normally do not do. I also got some great pre-games shots which include Hall of Famers and old-timers, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and Garry Maddox. Some are a tad blurry as it rained most of the game and I had water on my lens :O( But I still did pretty well. At least this will be more enjoyable than the game was :O)
Photos by Jenn