Hamels Struggles; Rockies Even Series

A perfect record at home last postseason was a key factor in last year’s World Championship.  Today, the Phillies lost their first playoff game at home since 2007.  The Rockies edged the Phillies, 5-4, evening the series at a game apiece.

Last October, Hamels stepped up as the big game pitcher.  Today, he looked more like the pitcher that went 0-6 during day games than the one who earned the NLCS and World Series MVP.

Hamels cruised through the first three innings, allowing a run on a fielder’s choice.  A curveball that hung over the plate to Yorvit Torrealba changed everything.  Torrealba’s two-run home run gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead and silenced the crowd for most of the game. 

Hamels was finished after five, and left the ballpark to be with his wife who went into labor.  Hamels allowed four earned runs on seven hits and struck out five.

It took awhile for the offense to wake up.  Ryan Howard’s RBI double and Raul Ibanez’s RBI single made it a one-run game.  The rally was killed when Carlos Ruiz grounded into an inning-ending double play.  The Phillies grounded into a total of three double plays in game two.

Charlie Manuel showed his lack of confidence in his bullpen by using starters Joe Blanton and J.A Happ.  Happ entered the game after Blanton got into a jam, but exited after being struck by a line drive.  He suffered a knee contusion and X-Rays were negative.  Scott Eyre was able to escape the jam, only allowing a sacrifice fly.  An inning later, Antonio Bastardo struck out Jason Giambi with the bases loaded and two outs to end the threat.

Dexter Fowler sacrifice flied twice to add onto the Rockies’ lead.  Jayson Werth homered in the eighth inning, cutting the lead to one.  The ninth inning became interesting when Matt Stairs walked and Jimmy Rollins singled, but the Phillies fell short against Huston Street.

The outcome is frustrating, but there are a few positives to take from today;  Cole Hamels did not walk a batter and the Phillies went 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position.  The series heads to Colorado on Saturday, where it is expected to snow.  Using Blanton and Happ makes Pedro Martinez the favorite to start, but also questions Charlie Manuel’s managing style during Game 2.

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