The Phillies lost last night’s game for a lot of reasons. You can start with a bad base running mistake and move on to not hitting in clutch situations, but ultimately, I think you’ve got to lay this one on the manager. By making a few big mistakes, he just did not give the players a chance to make up for their own.
First of all, Cole Hamels did a great job. But history shows that once he goes past 100 pitches, stick a fork in him, he is DONE. A lot of pitchers like Myers can sometimes go past the 100 mark no problem, but Cole is still young and still, shall we say, a bit fragile? Injury prone? He gets spaghetti arms at about 105 and begins to over-compensate. Then, disaster ensues… Charlie should know this. So once he gave up that double to the first hitter in the 8th, he should have been pulled right there and then, especially with Prince Fielder coming up who he had already given up a homer to that night. With a one run lead, there was no room for error. Get your starter the win! That is what your bullpen is for! He pitched a great game and he had earned the win! Manual is even quoted after the game as saying, “When a guy pitches real good, I hate to see him end up losing the game.” Then why the hell did you let him pitch to Prince freakin’ Fielder when he had thrown like 110 pitches and was obviously tired!!?? DUH!! OMG!!!
Let’s move to the 9th… Leading off the inning…Eric Bruntlett? Are you serious? With the way this guy has been hitting, Manual doesn’t pinch hit here? Big mistake #2. You’ve got Chris Coste who has been tearing it up! Throw him in there! I don’t even care what the match-up is, lefty or righty – ANYTHING is better than Bruntlett in this situation. He is just NOT hitting right now. And if it goes extra innings, Coste catches, and you put the Aussie, Harman at short. Of course, as you know now, Bruntlett strikes out, Taguchi gets on, steals 2nd, gets to 3rd on a throwing error, Werth strikes out and Feliz grounds out. Ugly, ugly inning to end the game, leaving a man on third. Had Charlie pinch hit to start it off, I think you are looking at a whole new ball game. Again, you give the players a shot to redeem themselves with good decisions, but not with bad ones.
Well, for what it is worth Cole, I thought you did a hell of a job! Here is my favorite photo I took of Cole last year…I was sitting in the front row above the dugout in D.C. and yapping at him between innings trying to get him to laugh. And the kid sitting next to me kept asking him for things (balls, gloves, etc…) so he finally threw him a bag of open, partially eaten sunflower seeds! ) That was priceless. Just a fun little story for ya. He is a cutie: