The San Diego Padres came into today’s game against the Phillies tied with the Reds for the best fielding percentage in the National League. They also lead the league in defensive efficiency ratio, which is basically how many times they turn a batted ball into an out. But facing the Phils and trying to defend against a 3-game sweep, the Padres committed 4 errors today.
While the errors helped, as 2 of the Phillies 5 runs were unearned, the bigger factor in the game was the Phillies pitching. Cole Hamels was outstanding on the mound; he did not allow a run through 8 innings and struck out 6 batters. It looked like he was slinging gas-powered rockets up there. In the entire 3-game series, Phillies starting pitching allowed just 2 runs.
Hamels was in such a groove today, he did not want to come out of the game after the 8th inning. In the dugout, he even refused to shake his pitching coaches’ hand for a few seconds, hoping that Rich Dubee would change his mind and let him pitch the 9th. But with a 4-0 lead at the time and Hamels having thrown 115 pitches, there was no need to take a chance that Hamels might get hurt.
The defense was sharp behind Hamels as well. Placido Polanco made several tough plays at third base. Mike Sweeney, giving Ryan Howard the day off, made a great running catch on a pop-up and handled many difficult throws at first base.
Sweeney contributed on offense as well; he smacked his first home run as a Phillie in the 7th inning; it was a 2-run shot. Sweeney ran around the dugout afterwards hugging everyone he could get his hands on. This guy is pure positive energy…you have to love that.
Later in the 8th, Jayson Werth hit a solo homer, which had to feel good. It was just his 3rd homer in August, which has been a month full of ups and downs for Werth. Jimmy Rollins also had an RBI in the game and Carlos Ruiz was the only Phillie with multiple hits.
Ryan Madson pitched the 9th inning and slammed the door for the Phillies 16th shut-out of the year. The 5-0 win went to Hamels who finally got some run support from his teammates. The Padres, for the first time all year, have now lost 4 games in a row.
The Phillies will take a short ride from San Diego over to Los Angeles tonight and start a 3-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow night. Roy Halladay will pitch and game time is 10:10pm. Break out the No-doze, East Coast fans.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography