Poor outing by Hamels costs Phillies

October 31, 2009 10:08:20 PM PDT
Cole Hamels shook his head, muttered an expletive and stood with one hand on his hip a few feet away from the rubber.

Hamels used to be a cool customer on the mound. Now, the 25-year-old left-hander sulks when things don't go right.

And, not much has gone his way this year.

Hamels allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings and the Philadelphia Phillies lost 8-5 to the Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night. The defending champs trail New York 2-1.

Last year's MVP in the World Series and NLCS, Hamels has been downright ordinary all year. But for 3 1-3 innings against the Yankees, it looked as if Hamels regained his form. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters, hitting Alex Rodriguez with a pitch for the only base runner.

Then Hamels fell apart. His meltdown started when he didn't get the call on a close 3-2 pitch to Mark Teixeira with one out in the fourth. Upset with walking Teixeira, Hamels may have lost his concentration against the next batter.

A-Rod drove an 0-1 pitch just over the right-field fence for his first hit of the series, cutting Philadelphia's lead to 3-2. The hit was initially ruled a double, but was overturned on video review.

Hamels retired the next two batters, but completely unraveled in the fifth.

Nick Swisher, just 4 for 36 in the postseason to that point, led off with a double down the left-field line. Swisher ripped a 2-2 curveball, the third time in the at-bat Hamels threw his third best pitch.

After striking out Melky Cabrera, Hamels started pitcher Andy Pettitte with another curve. Pettitte poked a soft liner to left-center, scoring Swisher with the tying run. It was the first RBI by a Yankees pitcher in the World Series since Jim Bouton in 1964.

Hamels was visibly frustrated after giving up a hit to Pettitte, and he pouted as pitching coach Rich Dubee came out for a word. The advice didn't work.

Derek Jeter followed with a bloop single and Johnny Damon lined a two-run double to put the Yankees ahead 5-3. After walking Teixeira again, Hamels was done for the night. He walked off the mound to a mixture of boos and cheers.

Hamels is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four starts this postseason. Last October, he was dominant. Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts, helping the Phillies win the second World Series title in franchise history.

Hamels entered this season with enormous expectations, but he struggled from the start and finished 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA.

Hoping for a fresh start in the playoffs, Hamels hasn't found his groove. He pitched five shaky innings against Colorado in Game 2 of the division series. After exiting the game, Hamels left the ballpark to be with his wife, who went into labor with the couple's first child.

Hamels made his next start in the opener of the NLCS against Los Angeles. He earned the win, despite pitching 5 1-3 so-so innings. In that game, though, Hamels showed up teammates Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley when they failed to turn what should have been an inning-ending double play. He then gave up a two-run homer to the next batter, Manny Ramirez.

Hamels lasted just 4 1-3 innings in Philadelphia's 10-4 clinching win over the Dodgers in Game 5. That factored into manager Charlie Manuel's decision to pick Pedro Martinez over Hamels to start Game 2 against the Yankees.

Should this series reach a seventh game, it would be Hamels' turn to pitch. There's a chance he doesn't make that start.

2009 WORLD SERIES

PHILLIES FANS CENTRAL

2009 NATIONAL LEAGUE SERIES

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