Welcome to the Phillies Nation Top 25 Moments of 2010, as voted on by the staff of this fine blog. Amanda Orr spent countless hours calculating, tabulating, and anticipating – so, please enjoy.
If there was an underlying theme to the 2010 Phillies season, it was outstanding starting pitching, particularly by Roy Halladay, who delivered two of the greatest pitching performances of this or any season. What you might not remember is the set of outstanding performances delivered by Cole Hamels, the Phillies’ beanpole lefty starter, who turned in one of the best seasons of his career.
Hamels’ best performance this season didn’t even earn him a win. On July 22, Hamels opposed St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in an afternoon game at Busch Stadium. Wainwright went six shutout innings, allowing six hits and walking none. Hamels delivered a line for the ages. For those of you who don’t follow advanced statistics, eight innings of one-hit shutout ball, with only one walk against seven strikeouts on only 97 pitches, in searing midsummer heat is impressive enough. The only hit Hamels allowed, a fifth-inning single by Matt Holliday, was nullified by a double play by the next batter. Tack on a game score of 86 and a WPA of 0.546, both season highs for Hamels, and you begin to understand how truly dominant Hamels was. It was the fourth-best game score and fifth-highest WPA by a Phillies starter all season, and by those two metrics, the best start made by a pitcher other than Roy Halladay.
Hamels’ superhuman performance was not enough, because not only did Wainwright shut out the Phillies, so did three Cardinals relievers, leaving the game scoreless into the 11th inning. Placido Polanco led off that inning with a home run, and a Raul Ibanez walk, a Ryan Howard single, and a Jayson Werth double in that order tacked on an insurance run.
After Hamels left the game, four Phillies relievers combined to throw three more no-hit innings. In total, only three of the 35 Cardinals to bat reached base, and it took the Redbirds until the 11th inning, when Brad Lidge walked Jon Jay, who promptly stole second, to get a man in scoring position.
Most of the time, the Phillies’ inability to score runs was an annoyance. But in this case, it set the stage for one of the great moments of the 2010 season.