Hamels Rebounds, Phillies Can’t Find the Offense
- Updated: April 14, 2013
Cole Hamels’ first two starts this season were rocky and inconsistent. He came into Saturday night’s game with an earned run average of 10.97, five walks and 13 runs allowed in 10.2 innings pitched.
He had a great chance to get on track Saturday against the last place Miami Marlins. The Marlins came limping into the game with a record of 1-9 and losers of their last six games.
Hamels fared much better this time around, throwing first pitch strikes to six of the first eight hitters he faced. He had much better command on the day, getting ahead of hitters and was overpowering at times. He was aided by some great fielding, notably a great diving catch in right centerfield by the burly Laynce Nix. Ben Revere also made a diving stab in center.
The Marlins hit some balls hard in the early innings, but they all found Phillie gloves.
Hamels did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.
The Phillies offense was looking to build on Friday night’s win, a tenth inning nail biter that saw Chase Utley garner a game winning triple to put the team ahead for good.
They didn’t score much besides that on Friday, and that would continue tonight. They left eight men on base and were just 1-7 with runners in scoring position.
Young Marlins’ righty Jose Fernandez was making his home debut for the Marlins, and he kept the Phillies at bay. The 20 year old hurler came into the game with an ERA of 1.80. He allowed only one run on three hits and struck out eight in a no decision against the Mets.
The Phillies were not able to make Fernandez work, or throw a lot of pitches. Like Hamels, Fernandez got ahead of nearly every hitter he faced and consistently threw strikes.
He allowed five Phillies to reach base, while striking out five in six innings pitched. He was also responsible for the Marlins’ first run in the fifth inning.
Third baseman Adeiny Hechavarria roped a ball in the gap in right centerfield for a two out triple. Fernandez stepped in and hit the first pitch he saw right between Galvis and Jimmy Rollins for an RBI single and a 1-0 Marlins lead.
The Phillies only run on the night came in the seventh, against A. J. Ramos. Domonic Brown led off the inning with a single for the first Phils’ hit since the second inning.
Two batters later, Freddy Galvis, who got the start at third, walked to put runners on first and second with one out.
Catcher Erik Kratz then grounded to shortstop for what should have been an inning ending double play. Instead, Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano threw wide of first baseman Greg Dobbs at first, allowing Kratz to reach and sending Brown to third with two outs.
Michael Young, who did not start tonight because he felt under the weather, would come up next to hit for Hamels. He hit a ball off the glove of Hechavarria at third and beat out the throw for an infield single that plated Brown for an unearned run.
Ben Revere then followed with a walk, to load the bases for Rollins. He would strike out on three pitches. The game was tied at one.
It would remain that way until the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Phillies bullpen turned in four scoreless innings on Friday night, with Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams, Philippe Aumont and Jonathan Papelbon combining for three strikeouts and just one hit allowed.
On Saturday night, both Bastardo and Adams had clean innings, but Aumont couldn’t escape the ninth inning.
He walked Polanco, one of three former Phillies in the Marlins’ lineup, to start in the inning. Dobbs, another former Phil then hit a ball past Kevin Frandsen who came in to play first earlier.
With runners on the corners and only one out, Chris Coughlin came up for Miami. With the infield in, he hit a sharp grounder to Chase Utley at second. The ball short hopped Utley who couldn’t field it cleanly, and Polanco scored from third to give Miami the 2-1 win.
It was a routine play, infield in with an average runner at third. If the ball is fielded cleanly, it would have been the second out of the inning.
Nonetheless, the play of Hamels was a huge positive to take away from Saturday night. Had the Phillies not had a chance to take the lead in the seventh inning, he would not have been pinch hit for and most likely pitched the bottom of the inning.
After scoring 17 runs against the Mets earlier this week, the Phillies have now scored two runs in two games against the lowly Marlins. They did manage 10 hits on Friday night, but just five tonight.
With their depleted roster, a mixture of journeymen and young talent, the Phillies need to take advantage of the Marlins and get their hitting on track. They will look to take the series on Sunday.
One night after earning his first major league victory, Aumont was saddled with the loss.
The Phillies fell back under .500 with the loss, their record sitting at 5-6. The Marlins improved to 2-9 and snapped their six game losing streak.
As with Hamels, Roy Halladay looks to fix what’s been ailing him this season when he starts Sunday afternoon. The Marlins counter with Kevin Slowey.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com & Marlins.com
Photo Courtesy of scores.espn.go.com