In their ongoing bid to be crowned the most inconsistent team in Major League Baseball history, the Phillies followed up their feel-good 13-8 beat down of the Mets last night by losing to the same hapless team 5-4 this afternoon.
A ninth inning rally would put some pressure on the Mets, but the Phils couldn’t find a way to pull it out. The loss snapped a streak of seven straight wins for the Phils at Citi Field and was yet another chapter in Cole Hamels’ disappointing 2013 campaign.
HAMELS IS FLAT AGAIN
– Over his last three starts, Cole Hamels had posted a 1.57 ERA in 23.0 innings pitched. In his lone start at Citifield this season, he allowed one run over six innings while striking out eight. Against a dysfunctional Mets offense, there was reason for optimism with Hamels on the mound today. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell him that.
Hamels struggled right out of the gate, throwing a lot of balls and letting the Mets easily wipe out what was an early Phillies lead in the first inning. Some of it could be blamed on luck–a bloop single and fielder’s choice both produced runs in the first for the Mets–but much of it was on Hamels’ lack of control, and his inability to put hitters away. He would end the inning with 34 pitches thrown, and three runs allowed.
After the rocky first, he’d allow just one run over the next four innings before getting lifted. With a line of 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, it was another mediocre start for Hamels. No matter how you slice it, he’s had too many of those this year. In 21 starts , he’s failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning 13 times in 2013. That’s simply not acceptable for a high paid front of the rotation starter. Hamels has been a better pitcher by more than a half run after the All Star break over the course of his career, and he’d do well to find some of that second half magic, and fast.
– The Phillies got their first look at heralded Mets prospect, Zach Wheeler, and the returns were mixed. Jimmy Rollins greeted the rookie with a big fly just over the 375 sign in right center to lead off the game, the 45th time he has done so in his career. The homer was also the first for Rollins since May 31.
– For the next three innings, the Phillies wouldn’t score any runs, despite an abundance of baserunners. (Shocking, I know.) They did make Wheeler work quite a bit, and, in the fifth, they finally pushed another one across. The inning started with a single from Hamels, and he came around to score on a Chase Utley sac fly. With the bases loaded and two outs, Wheeler was lifted after throwing 106 pitches in just 4.2 innings. That brought in Gonzalez Germen to face Delmon Young at a crucial point in the game. Though Young was 2-for-2 to that point, he came up small, striking out to end the inning with the Phils trailing by one. They should have had more against Wheeler, but to his credit (and also to Germen’s credit), he limited the damage and held the lead.
– A two-out, two-run home run and double in the ninth by Utley and Domonic Brown, respectively, would make things interesting in the ninth. But Darin Ruf would line out to second to end the ballgame. It was really a story of missed opportunities with the offense today, as they left ten on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
LEAKY BULLPEN PROVES COSTLY
– Jake Diekman allowed a run on a single by Daniel Murphy in the seventh after taking over for J.C. Ramirez. The run was charged to Ramirez, and it proved to be the deciding fact when the ninth inning rally fell just short. It will be overlooked, as today’s game was all about the offense’s failure to execute, but this is what a bullpen that can’t stop the scoring can do to a team.