Things looked promising for Cole Hamels going into tonight’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates; the Philadelphia Phillies had just won back to back games in comeback fashion. Hamels was still searching for his first win of a very frustrating season so far.
Tonight, the frustrations would continue for Hamels.
He went eight strong innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, with one of them being a Gabby Sanchez solo home run in the eighth inning. Unfortunately for Hamels, his teammates could not deliver offensively.
The Phillies’ offense was only able to generate four hits off of the Pirates battery tonight. Jeff Locke pitched a seemingly effortless six innings. Even when he got himself into a little trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Phils bailed him out. The Phillies were unable to capitalize on a leadoff triple by John Mayberry Jr.; he was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice which was then followed by an ending inning double play.
Jason Grilli retired the Phillies in order to collect his eighth save of the season. The Pirates evened the four game series at 1-1 and hand Hamels his fifth loss this season.
In his last three starts, Hamels has thrown 21 innings, while only allowing six earned runs. He has received a quality start in each of his last three appearances but has also been the losing pitcher on all three occasions. The Phillies offense has only provided Hamels with four runs in his last three starts and an unsettling habit seems to be forming.
Perhaps the buck has been passed from Cliff Lee to Hamels this season. Lee had a very similar season in 2012 where the team struggled to give him run support all year. Whatever the case may be, the Phillies hope that this trend goes out of style, and quickly. They cannot afford to drop anymore games with their ace on the mound.