Tonight in Florida, it looked like the soggy north east weather had followed the Phillies south. Downpours delayed the start of tonight’s game against the Marlins by about an hour and a half. It was the third rain delay / postponement between the Phillies and Marlins in the course of just a week.
The game began with a light, but steady rain, still pouring down. And while the rain chased away many of the few fans who were actually at the game, Cole Hamels stuck it out and pitched fairly well.
Although he had some control issues, Hamels got through seven innings allowing three runs on four hits and three walks. All three runs for the Marlins were scored on home runs.
But Hamels made up for his pitching mistakes at the plate. In the second inning, Wilson Valdez tripled to score two runs and then Hamels followed up with an RBI-single. Hamels duplicated the feat in his next at-bat in the fourth. So he ended the night with two hits and two RBI. Not too shabby for a pitcher.
Unfortunately, the scoring ended with Hamels’ 4th inning RBI. Even less fortunate than that was a bad pitching decision by manager Charlie Manuel. He sent Antonio Bastardo out to pitch the eighth after Bastardo had just pitched almost three innings in the last two games. While Bastardo has been superb, he has also been overused. And that was obvious tonight when he walked the first two batters he faced.
Manuel pulled Bastardo after the walks and put in David Herndon. And that move also proved to be costly. Herndon has been much better lately, but he is almost always better when he starts an inning as opposed to taking on inherited runners. And just like that, Herndon imploded. He gave up three home runs for a total of five in the inning, giving the Marlins a huge 8-4 lead.
The way the Phillies offense had played all night, it was clear that a four run deficit might be nearly impossible to overcome. When the only guys hitting are your pitcher and the 7 & 8-hole hitters, it is probably not going to be a great night offensively.
So although Hamels left the game with a lead, the bullpen handed the game to the Marlins. The Phillies lost 8-4. The only good news is that the Braves also lost tonight.
The Phillies still have a chance to win the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:10pm. Roy Halladay will pitch.
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