May 17 2007

You're going to have to wait if you want to see Cole Hamels throw a no-hitter or a perfect game.  Probably not very long, though.  Like he so often does, Hamels looked unhittable last night.  He took a perfect game into the seventh inning on his way to pitching the Phillies back to .500.

Hamels stole the show on Ryan Howard bobblehead night.  With the Phils' slugger on the DL, the big blast of the game came off the bat of leadoff hitter Aaron Rowand.  Rowand socked Jeff Suppan's second-inning 0-2 offering way out to left after Ruiz and Hamels had gotten aboard with two outs and nobody on base.  Rowand's shot gave the Phillies an early five-run lead and it was more than Hamels would need.

After waiting out a rain delay of about an hour and a half, the Phillies beat the Brewers last night, winning 6-2 to improve to 20-20 on the year.  Three in a row and six out of seven for the Phils.  They reach .500 for the first time this year.  They are in third place in the NL East, 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Mets.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and was phenomenal.  He went eight innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk.  Both of the hits he allowed went for extra-bases, a double and a two-run homer.  He struck out 11.  He got the win to improve to 6-1 on the year.  He is tied with Roy Oswalt for the NL lead in wins.

Hamels struck out the side in the first.

He struck out Bill Hall to start the second and got Kevin Mench and Corey Hart on ground outs.  Mench went down on a sliding play by Utley to get to Mench's ground ball for the second out. 

Two more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 third.  Perfect through three with six strikeouts.

Another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.  Rickie Weeks on a ground out, JJ Hardy on a fly ball to right and Prince Fielder swinging.

Hamels got the first two in the fifth before Corey Hart tried to bunt the first pitch with the perfect game intact and fouled it off.  Hart hit Hamels' 0-2 pitch into shallow right center where Victorino took it for the third out.

In the sixth, after running the bases in the bottom of the fifth, Hamels got behind Damian Miller 3-1 before Miller hit the 3-2 pitch slowly to short.  Rollins made a nice play for the first out.  Tony Graffanino hit a high foul ball near the Phillies' dugout on the first pitch of his at-bat.  Ruiz made a sliding effort but couldn't hold on.  Hamels struck him out for the second out.  Suppan hit for himself and fouled off three 1-2 pitches in a row before hitting a ground ball to Dobbs at first.  Dobbs fielded it deep but beat Suppan to the bag to end the frame. 

Perfect through six with eight strikeouts.  He had thrown 80 pitches.

In the seventh, he got behind Weeks 3-0 before throwing two strikes to get back to 3-2.  Weeks fouled one off and then drew a walk on a pitch way up and away.  Hardy was next and hit a 2-0 pitch just out to left to make the score 6-2.  Hamels got Fielder on a fly ball hit very deep to right for the first out.  He struck out Hall and Mench to end the frame.

He struck out Hart to start the eighth, but Miller followed and drove a ball over the head of Rowand in center.  It bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.  Graffanino grounded back to the pitcher for the second out with Miller staying at second.  Johnny Estrada pinch-hit for Suppan and fouled out to Dobbs to end the frame.

Brett Myers started the ninth with the Phillies up 6-2.  That's wretched.  Alfonseca no appearances in the two games before Wednesday.  Hernandez has been in one game since being called up on May 4.  Fabio Castro has appeared in two games in May (and has yet to get an out this month).  Condrey has pitched twice since being called up on May 5.  Rosario last pitched in a game on May 7.  Myers was pitching in his third game in a row and for the fourth time in five days.  That's just nuts.  You can't have a two-man bullpen.  It can work for a very short period of time, but that's it.  It worked this time.  Weeks struck out, Hardy popped to short and Fielder struck out.

The Myers thing is really hard for me to swallow.  It seems like a classic case of the manager's needs not being in sync with the team's needs.  Charlie Manuel needs to Phillies to win right now.  The Phillies need Myers to stay healthy for a long time.  Of course Myers wants to pitch.  The Phillies shouldn't let him pitch every day -- not up four runs with nobody on base when he's pitching for the third day in a row.  And they shouldn't let Manuel use him the way he has been.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jeff Supan went (1) Rowand (2) Victorino (3) Rollins (4) Utley (5) Burrell (6) Dobbs (7) Nunez (8) Ruiz.  Sure looks like it's going to take a lefty before we see Helms back in the lineup.  Dobbs back at first with Howard on the shelf.  He was 9-for-his-last-16 with a double and two homers coming into the game.

Rowand struck out to start the first and Victorino followed and squirted a ground ball to short.  It hopped up on Hardy at the last minute and Victorino was safe on an error.  Victorino moved to second on a wild pitch with Rollins at the plate before a double to right brought him home and put the Phils up 1-0.  Utley grounded  back to the pitcher for the second out.  Rollins went to third.  Burrell hit a ball hard into left, scoring Rollins to make it 2-0, but was thrown out by a ton trying to stretch it into a double.

Dobbs and Nunez both struck out to start the second before Ruiz walked with two outs.  Hamels singled into center, moving Ruiz to second.  Rowand got behind 0-2 on two foul balls before he crushed a ball way out to left.  5-0.  Victorino grounded to first to end the inning.

Utley singled with one out in the third but Burrell followed and hit into a double-play.

Nunez singled with one out in the fourth but Ruiz followed and hit into a double-play.

Hamels started the fifth with a single.  Rowand followed with a line out to left and Victorino hit a ground ball to short.  The Brewers forced Hamels at second but couldn't get two.  Rollins popped to third to end the inning.

Utley led off the sixth with a single and Burrell followed with a walk.  Here's one I thought I'd never say -- I was a little disappointed Manuel didn't let Bourn run for Burrell (given the perfect game was still intact) and come in to play left field.  Dobbs hit a double-play ball to Fielder, but Fielder bobbled and it bounced to Weeks who tried to get Dobbs at first but Dobbs beat it out to load the bases.  Error on Fielder.  Nunez dribbled one towards first base.  Fielder charged and tried to backhand but the ball went under his glove.  Utley scored from third to make it 6-0 and they gave Nunez a single.  "Gave" pretty much sums it up.  Ruiz hit a grounder to third.  Graffanino tagged third and threw home.  Miller tagged out Burrell to complete the double-play.  With two outs and the bases still loaded, Hamels grounded to first to end the inning.  Second GIDP for Ruiz in two at-bats.  Phils get one run out of bases loaded with nobody out. 

Victorino was hit by a pitch with one out in the seventh.  Rollins was next and hit yet another ball into right-center, but Hall made a long run and a sliding catch for the second out.  Utley smashed a line drive back up the middle, but Hardy was playing him there and snared it to end the inning.

Bourn, who had entered the game defensively in the top of the eighth, led off the bottom of the inning and walked on four pitches.  He stole second on the 1-2 pitch that struck out Dobbs for the first out.  Bourn moved to third when Nunez grounded to second for the second out.  Ruiz grounded to short to end the inning. 

Rowand was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth of the year. 

Victorino was 0-for-3. 

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double.

Utley was 2-for-4 with two singles.

Burrell was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

Dobbs 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 

Nunez 2-for-4 with an RBI.  429/455/571 in 42 May at-bats.

Ruiz 0-for-3 with a walk.  Hit into two double-plays and left five men on base.

Freddy Garcia (1-2, 5.17) faces righty Ben Sheets (3-2, 4.10) this afternoon as the Phils try to sweep the four-game series.  Garcia has allowed just five earned runs over 12 innings his last two times out (3.75 ERA), going six innings each time.  He has yet to go more than six innings in a start for the Phils.  He's not walking anybody (four in his last 17 innings) or giving up home runs (none in his last 17 innings).  For the year, however, opponents are hitting .312 against him, lefties .339 and righties .290.  After a rough start in which he was hit hard in two of his first three outings, Sheets hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start any of his last five times out.  He has allowed seven home runs in his 48 1/3 innings.

Click here to continue viewing posts in chronological order