There are a few different players one can point to when placing blame regarding the Phillies 8-5 loss to New York. One however, sticks out like a very sore thumb.
Cole Hamels has struggled all season. Earlier in the year, after a less than stellar performance against the Marlins, mid-season, Hamels’ proclaimed, and I paraphrase, I will start to turn it on once the games become more important. So far this postseason, he has remained mediocre at his best and just plain bad at his worst. Perhaps the lights of the NLDS and the NLCS just weren’t bright enough for “Hollywood” to shine.
In Hamels biggest, most important game yet, Hamels again failed to dazzle. Lasting just 4.1 innings, Hamels allowed five runs on five hits. Hamels started the game looking good, allowing just one base-runner in the first three innings. Early on it appeared as if Cole had finally found a stage big enough to perform, however, after a walk to Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez took Hamels deep to right field, homering off the camera in a bomb that required instant replay to determine.
The Phillies offense got to Andy Pettitte early, scoring three in the second. Jayson Werth started the scoring with a solo shot to left. It was the third straight game in which the Phillies scored first. A Pedro Feliz double, a Carlos Ruiz walk, and a Cole Hamels bunt single and the Phillies had bases loaded with one out. Jimmy Rollins drew the walk to score Feliz and Victorino sacrificed to score Ruiz. After two innings, things looked bright as the Phillies were up three.
Aside from another solo blast from Werth and a late blast by Ruiz, the Phillies line-up lay dormant for the rest of the evening. More importantly, the Phillies 3-4 and 6 hitters (all lefties) went 0 for 12 with seven strike outs. Ryan Howard was the biggest culprit with three total. He is now batting .154 in the World Series after a torrid postseason.
Let’s not forget the bullpen which failed to keep the game within reach after Hamels left. Allowing dingers to both Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui, they coughed up three runs in 4.2 innings of work.
In all, it was a collectively bad effort with little exception. It will gave the Phillies just their second loss at home in the playoffs over the past two seasons.
The Phillies will look to even the series tomorrow when they square off in Game Four. Game time is set for 8:20 pm and Joe Blanton will take the mound for the Phillies. A loss and the Phillies will find themselves with their backs placed squarely against the wall. C.C. Sabathia goes for the Yankees.