Phils Bullpen Must Hate Cole Hamels
…Seriously, it is the best explanation I can come up with for why they consistently blow leads in the 8th inning after Hamels has pitched. Poor Cole must feel like a red-headed step-child in this group. Well actually, it’s not just Hamels. They have consistently blown leads in the 8th the entire month of August. Tonight, it was a 4-1 lead going into the 8th, and they came out losing 6-4. On previous occasions, I was hesitant to place blame on the pitching, because they had been great all year and the offense was not producing. But tonight, this is absolutely inexcusable. We are in the heat of a pennant race here. These guys need to step up and get the job done. Ryan Madson, who was responsible for 3 of the runs in the 8th, has just been terrible. He had a very short stretch where he pitched well, but aside from that, he has been a nightmare. I cringe every time he walks onto the mound. And Chad Durbin, who was lights out most of the season, has suddenly joined the bullpen follies club, giving up a grand slam to Aramis Ramirez. He has gotten into the habit of basically clearing the bases of inherited runners as soon as he comes in, and then can’t get out of the inning. I don’t know what has gotten into these guys, but someone had better figure it out and fast. And just for the record, neither Madson nor Durbin pitched yesterday, so they did have at least a day to rest.
The Phillies struggled all night to move runners again, with only Chase Utley (3 for 5) and Jayson Werth (2 for 3) earning more than one hit in the game. They left runners on base again at a record pace: 9 for the game. Pat Burrell continues to struggle, going 0 for 5 with one of those being a double play. But even with the offensive struggles, Cole Hamels did his part and kept them in the game, going 7 innings and only surrendering the one run. That makes this loss so much harder to take; if you can’t win with your ace on the mound, things are NOT going well. With 3 more games against the 1st place Cubs to go, this does not inspire confidence. I guess we’ll see if they can bounce back tomorrow…
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