When you don’t hit, you can’t win. The Phillies found that out the hard way today in San Francisco as Matt Cain shut them down completely over seven innings in the Giants 3-0 win. Cole Hamels wasn’t even all that bad, even though he was tagged with the loss.
As for Cain, he rendered the Phillies offense useless, allowing just two hits and three walks with five K’s over 119 pitches. In actuality, he wasn’t as sharp as the numbers indicate, as he threw only 69 strikes to 50 balls. It was the Phillies lineup that made him look as such. There were several zeroes throughout the order; Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz were responsible for the three hits, while Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, and Ross Gload reach via walk. But that was the extent of the offense.
Once again it was their inability to pull through with runners in scoring position that did them in. Seven men were left on base, with the team finishing 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The Phillies ran their RISP average down to .105 in the three games, or 2-for-19. That just won’t do.
Cole Hamels was the hard luck loser. He really only struggled in one inning and that unfortunately did him in. Through six innings, he allowed five hits and three runs on some tough base hits by the Giants.
In the fourth, Edgar Renteria led off the inning with a single, the first hit to that point given up by Hamels. Freddy Sanchez then pushed Renteria along with a sac bunt, which would have been a close play at second base had Howard looked that direction. He did not, and Renteria moved to scoring position. A Buster Posey strikeout was followed by a Pat Burrell walk. Cody Ross then struck again.
Ross singled from his shoes to left field, bringing home Renteria, and adding to his 2010 postseason lure. It wasn’t a bad pitch from Hamels to Ross – a low, 4-seam fastball above the middle part of the plate – but was something too close to his wheelhouse. He converted once again, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Aubrey Huff then singled off the glove of a diving Chase Utley into right field, which scored Burrell who had moved to third on Ross’s hit.
Then in the fifth, Aaron Rowand doubled on the first pitch from Utley into the left field corner. He would later score on a Freddy Sanchez single that took a wicked hop and ate up Utley at second. It was originally called an error but changed to a base hit later. Utley appeared to have a play on the spinning ball but it skipped to his right, ricocheting off his arm and into shallow center field. Just that sort of day.
That would conclude the scoring for San Fran, but it would also be more than enough for the Giants to take a 2-1 lead with two games remaining at AT&T Park.
Charlie Manuel has stated that Joe Blanton will start in Game 4 against Madison Bumgarner. The skipper is pinning his hopes on a guy who hasn’t pitched a full game since September 29.
Although this is uncharted territory for this team, we all know they can’t be counted out of any series. And while the lineup is sinking like a brick, they’ll get a chance to turn their fortunes around against the Giants fourth starter.