Cole Hamels was fantastic last night, throwing a complete game shutout as the Phils topped the Reds 2-0 in Cincinnati to finish off the sweep in the NLDS.
The Phils plated a run in the top of the first with the help of yet another Cincinnati error. With two outs and men on first and third, Werth hit a ground ball to short. Orlando Cabrera fielded, but his throw pulled Joey Votto off of first base and Polanco came in to score to put the Phils up 1-0. Utley hit a fifth inning home run to end the scoring for the game.
The Phils scored just 13 runs in the three game series, but thanks to the no-hitter by Halladay in game one, the shutout by Hamels in game three and four scoreless frames from the bullpen in game two, it was enough.
Cincinnati couldn’t score, but they couldn’t field either. The Reds made seven errors in three games and only seven of the 13 runs that the Phillies scored in the series were earned.
The Phillies have won their best-of-five series with the Cincinnati Reds, taking game three 2-0 to complete a three-game sweep. They will play either the Giants or the Braves in the NLCS, which starts on Saturday in Philadelphia.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing four singles and a double. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter. That might not even be the best post-season start of his career — in game one of the 2008 NLDS, Hamels held the Brewers to two singles and a walk over eight shutout innings and struck out nine as the Phils won 3-1.
He faced a Cincinnati lineup that went (1) Drew Stubbs (CF/R) (2) Brandon Phillips (2B/R) (3) Joey Votto (1B/L) (4) Scott Rolen (3B/R) (5) Jonny Gomes (LF/R) (6) Ramon Hernandez (C/R) (7) Jay Bruce (RF/L) (8) Orlando Cabrera (SS/R). That’s the same eight players the Reds started in game one against the righty Halladay, but in a different order. Stubbs moves into the leadoff spot with Philips hitting second. Cabrera, who left game two with a side injury, starts but hits eighth. Hernandez moves up to sixth in the order with Bruce dropped from sixth to seventh.
Cincinnati started the game with six players on their bench, lefties Juan Francisco and Laynce Nix and righties Ryan Hanigan, Paul Janish, Chris Heisey and Miguel Cairo.
Stubbs led off the bottom of the first with the Phils up 1-0 and hit a ball in the hole between third and short. Rollins fielded and made a long, strong throw to firs that was in the first. Howard scooped it, but Stubbs beat it out for an infield single. Phillips was next and he smoked a 1-0 pitch into left center. Victorino got a great jump on the ball and caught it on a full run for the first out. Stubbs was running on the 3-2 pitch that Votto hit back to the mound. Hamels turned and looked at second, but there was no play there. He took the out at first and Rolen came to the plate with two down and Stubbs on second. Hamels struck Rolen out looking at a 96 miles per hour fastball on the inside corner for the third out.
Huge play by Victorino on the ball hit by Phillips. That sure looked like a double. The 3-4-5 hitters in the Reds lineup were 1-for-21 with a Votto single in the series at that point.
Hamels threw 15 pitches in the inning.
Gomes chopped an 0-2 pitch to third for the first out of the second inning. Hernandez was next and flew to Werth in shallow right. Votto followed him and hit a 1-1 pitch hard between first and second. Utley made a diving effort, but the ball went off his glove and Bruce had a single. Hamels struck Cabrera out swinging 3-2 to end the inning.
Two hits through two innings for Hamels, both on plays that should have been made defensively by the Phils. Hamels had thrown 31 pitches in the game after a 16-pitch second.
Hamels through quick third. The pitcher Cueto led off and bunted an 0-1 pitch, popping it up in foul territory. Ruiz took it for the first out. Stubbs flew to left on an 0-1 pitch and Phillips flew to right on an 0-1 pitch.
Just six pitches in the inning for Hamels, who was at 37 for the game.
Votto grounded hard to Utley on a 2-2 pitch to start the fourth. Rolen was next and bounced a 1-1 pitch up the middle and into center for a single Gomes got ahead 2-0 and Hamels delivered a pitch that looked high to me but was called a strike. Hamels struck him out swinging at a low changeup 3-2 for the second out. Hernandez swung at the first pitch and grounded to Utley to end the inning.
When Hamels got behind Gomes 2-0 it was the only time I had been even a little worried about him all night. He was fortunate to get the 2-0 call on a ball out of the zone, but the at-bat ended nicely at Hamels got him with a pretty pitch. He had thrown 52 pitches in the game after a 15-pitch inning.
The Phils were up 2-0 when he started the fifth. Bruce fouled out to Ruiz on a 1-0 pitch for the first out. Cabrera grounded to first for the second. That brought up the pitcher’s spot, and righty Miguel Cairo hit for Cueto. Hamels struck him out swinging 0-2 for the third out.
Nine pitches in the inning had Hamels at 61.
He struck Stubbs out swinging 3-2 for the first out of the sixth. Phillips grounded to short on a 1-1 pitch for the second out. He got ahead of Votto 0-2, then struck him out swinging at a 3-2 changeup to end the inning.
Fifteen pitches in the inning for Hamels had him at 76. He had set down eight in a row.
He struck Rolen out swinging 1-2 for the first out of the seventh. Gomes was next and Hamels threw him a 2-2 changeup that was up and over the plate. Gomes hit it hard, but not hard enough. Ibanez took it on the warning track for the second out. Hernandez was next and he ripped a 1-0 pitch into left for a double. Arroyo ran for him at second, but Hamels got Bruce to line to Werth 1-1 to end the inning.
Gomes, Hernandez and Bruce all hit the ball hard right in a row, but Hamels got away with it. He was up to 95 pitches after 19 in the frame.
Cabrera swung at the first pitch of the eighth and flew to left. Ryan Hanigan was next, he had been double-switched into the game in the top of the inning with the new pitcher Bailey moving into Hernandez’s spot. Hanigan popped a 2-0 pitch up between third and the plate in foul territory. Polanco and Ruiz couldn’t figure out who was going to catch it. Eventually Polanco tried and dropped the ball and was charged with an error. Hamels got him to ground to second for the second out and then struck Stubbs out swinging at a high fastball.
106 pitches in the game for Hamels after throwing 11 in the inning.
Phillips started the ninth and quickly got ahead 2-0. Hamels evened the count at 2-2 and then ripped a ball past a diving Polanco and into left field for a single. He threw strike one and then strike two past Votto and then got MVP to hit a 1-2 pitch to Utley and the Phils turned and easy-looking double-play. Golly. It brought Rolen to the plate as the last hope for the Reds and Hamels struck him out swinging to end the series.
The Reds scored four runs in the three-game series.
Gomes, Cairo, Hanigan, Nix, Heisey, Francisco and Janish combined to go 0-for-20.
Votto was 1-for-10 with a single and no walks.
Bruce 2-for-8 with a home run and two walks. He and Phillips were the only two Cincinnati players who on-based at least .300 in the series. Phillips was 4-for-12 with a home run and no walks.
Stubbs 1-for-9, Rolen 1-for-11. Cabrera 1-for-8 and Hernandez 1-for-7 with a double.
The Phillies lineup against righty Johnny Cueto went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Rollins (7) Ibanez (8) Ruiz. That’s the same lineup they used against Arroyo in game two. Rollins still shouldn’t be hitting ahead of Ibanez and Ibanez shouldn’t be hitting seventh.
The Phillies bench had seven offensive players to start the game, lefties Brian Schneider, Ross Gload, Domonic Brown and Greg Dobbs and righties Ben Francisco, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez.
Victorino started the game and flew to right on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Polanco followed him and lined an 0-1 pitch into left for a single. Utley hit an 0-1 pitch well, but Stubbs took it on the warning track for the second out. Howard got ahead 3-0 and flared a 3-2 pitch into left. Gomes was playing extremely deep, nearly on the warning track, and the ball fell in front of him near the foul line for a single that sent Polanco to third. Werth reached out and tapped a 3-2 pitch to short. Cabrera fielded the ball, but his throw to first was bad, on the home plate side of first, and Votto had to come off the bag to get it. Werth was safe on the error and Polanco scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Rollins swung at the first pitch and flew to center to leave the runners at first and second.
More bad defense from the Reds gives the Phils an early 1-0 lead. Cueto threw 21 pitches in the inning.
Ibanez started the second and hit a 2-0 pitch well to right, but Bruce took it for the first out. Ruiz bounced a single up the middle and Hamels bunted him to second with the second out. Victorino got ahead 2-0 and then lined a 2-1 pitch to Cabrera at short for the third out.
Ibanez and Victorino both hit the ball well in the inning, The other out that Cueto got the Phillies gave him. He was at 32 pitches for the game after throwing 11 in the inning.
Polanco grounded to second to start the third. Utley struck out swinging 3-2 for the second out. Howard chopped a 2-2 pitch to where you might expect the third baseman to be, but the big shift had Rolen near short. He fielded the ball after a long run and threw to first, but Howard beat it out and was 2-for-2. Werth got behind 0-2 and struck out swinging 2-2 to leave Howard at first.
Cueto had thrown 54 pitches.
Rollins had a nice at-bat to start the fourth, working a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Ibanez flew to center 1-2 for the first out. Ruiz was next and hit a 1-0 pitch to third. Rolen made an odd play, moving backwards and then throwing awkwardly to second to force Rollins for the second out. Hamels flew to shallow center to leave Ruiz at first.
Cueto’s pitch count was up to 69.
Victorino grounded to first on a 2-2 pitch to start the fifth. Polanco was next and flew to Bruce near the foul line in right for the second out. Utley followed and Cueto hung an 0-1 slider in the middle of the plate, which Utley hammered over the wall in right-center just out of the reach of Stubbs to put the Phils up 2-0. Howard swung at the first pitch and grounded to Phillips, who was playing second in shallow right field.
First home run of the series for the Phils. Cueto had thrown 83 pitches through five innings.
Righty Homer Bailey was on the mound for the Reds to start the sixth after Cincy hit for Cueto in the bottom of the fifth. He struck Werth out looking 0-2 for the first out. Rollins was next and singled into right on a 3-1 pitch. Ruiz struck out swinging at a high fastball 1-2 for the second out. Ruiz hit a 1-1 pitch between third and short. Rolen slid fielding the ball, then popped up and dropped the ball trying to get it out of his glove. It put men on first and second for Hamels and he flew to shallow right on an 0-2 pitch to leave both men stranded.
Second error in the series for Rolen plus a bad throw to second in game one in which he wasn’t charged with an error. Rollins was 1-for-10 in the series and had been on base in each of his last two times to the plate.
Bailey was back for the seventh. Victorino led off with a single to left. Polanco was next and grounded into a double-play on a 1-2 pitch. Utley hit a 1-0 pitch well to left, but Gomes took it right in front of the warning track for the third out.
Lefty Bill Bray started the eighth to pitch to Howard and got him with a high 3-2 fastball for the first out. Righty Nick Masset took over to pitch to Werth and Werth struck out swinging at a 2-2 breaking ball that was outside. Masset got Rollins to fly to center for the third out.
Lefty Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for the Reds. Ibanez lined a 3-2 pitch hard to right to start the inning, but Bruce handled it for the first out. Ruiz quickly got behind in the count but lined an 0-2 pitch down the right field line for a double. Hamels hit for himself and drove a ball to left-center, but Stubbs tracked it down for the second out. Victorino flew to center to leave Ruiz stranded at second.
Great job by Hamels not to get injured facing Chapman. He also crushed the ball.
Victorino was 1-for-5 in the game. He also made a very nice play on the ball Phillips hit hard to left center in the first. 3-for-13 with a double and a walk in the series.
Polanco 1-for-4. 1-for-9 with no walks in the set. Going back to the regular season, he has one extra-base hit, a double, in his last 78 plate appearances.
Utley 1-for-4 with a homer. 3-for-11 with a home run in the series.
Howard 2-for-4 with a pair of strange singles. 3-for-11 with three singles and two walks.
Werth 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 2-for-12 with five strikeouts.
Rollins 1-for-3 with a walk. 1-for-11 with two walks.
Ibanez 0-for-4 with a strikeout, but hit the ball better than that. 3-for-12 with a double and a walk.
Ruiz 2-for-4. 2-for-8 with three walks in the set.
Valdez 1-for-3. Brown 0-for-1. Sweeney 0-for-1.
Utley would be the offensive MVP in the series for the Phils if you had to pick one. He didn’t play especially well offensively.
Rollins, Polanco and Werth combined to go 4-for-32 with four singles and three walks in the series.
The Phils scored less than 4 1/2 runs per game in the set with the Reds making an average of more than two runs per game.