All of the potential excitement of Cole Hamels‘ 100 win was ruined by a shoddy bullpen effort as the Phillies dropped the series finale 5-4 to the Mets.
It looked like another one of those days for Hamels. And by those days, I mean another game against the Mets. Hamels entered the game 7-14 with a 4.64 ERA against the Mets and looked like he was in for a long day starting in the first inning. Hamels allowed a first inning David Wright RBI single and the Mets looked poised to do more damage.
But they didn’t. Hamels found his groove and, 133 pitches later, left the game after the seventh in line for the win up 3-1. That’s not to say he was lucky.
The Phils got on the board with the equalizer in the second when back-to-back doubles by Wil Nieves and Cody Asche plated Nieves. The fourth inning began with a single by Ryan Howard and a double by Marlon Byrd. Howard scored on a Domonic Brown fielder’s choice and Byrd on a Nieves ground out. Chase Utley drove in Jimmy Rollins with a two-out triple in the ninth to add a fourth insurance run. The insurance run would be critical.
Mario Hollands ran into trouble but pitched a scoreless eighth. Antonio Bastardo, on the other hand, gave up a lead off double in the ninth to Eric Young Jr. followed be a two-run homer by Daniel Murphy. After striking out David Wright, Bastardo allowed a double to Chris Young before being pulled in favor of Roberto Hernandez. Bobby Abreu singled off of Hernandez but it did not score Young.
No, Young would score off the bat of Juan Lagares on a slow roller to short. Hernandez struck out Anthony Recker in the ninth but the damage was done and Hamels, who is frequently so unlucky against the Mets, earned himself a no-decision despite going seven innings, striking out 10 and only allowing one run.
The Phils bats went limp in the 10th and Jeff Manship had an unlikely scoreless tenth after battling through first and second with two outs. Manship was not so lucky in the eleventh and allowed a game-winning, bases loaded single to Ruben Tejada.
Hamels was robbed of his 100 victory today, which would have put him in pretty elite Phillies’ company. The win would move him into a tie for seventh place all-time in club history. Hamels ranks sixth in starts, ninth in innings pitched, and fifth in strikeouts in Phillies team history. Hamels sits just two wins behind Curt Schilling for sixth all-time in wins and 16 behind Curt Simmons for fifth.
With his 10 Ks today, Hamels is now only 31 behind Schilling for fourth place in team history and 62 behind Chris Short for third. With some good luck, Hamels will assume those positions on the strikeout leaderboard by the end of this year and should catch Simmons sometime early next year on the wins leaderboard. Hamels, who some write off as sort of a one World Series wonder, is officially in rarified air among the Phillies all-time elite pitchers.
Nieves Has a Game
It is not uncommon to hear a player yell “Have a game, kid” from the dugout. Well, Nieves did that today. Nieves called a good game for Hamels, hit a double, scored a run, drove in a run, got a single, and… straight stole second base. It was Nieves first steal since 2009 and it was the first steal by a Phillies back-up catcher since Todd Pratt stole second base off of Mike Piazza on July 1, 2002 at Veteran’s Stadium against the Mets.
The Phillies will get a well-deserved day off after 10 games in 10 days. The Phils resume their schedule on Tuesday against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels.