Remember back in 2010 when Cole Hamels pitched really well, but couldn't get any offensive support to save his life? Or, you know, get a win? Tonight's 2-0 loss to the Pirates felt like one of his starts from that season.
Honestly, this was pretty much the game I expected. I feel like that makes me a fairly balanced person -- not too positive, not too negative. I expected Cole Hamels to have a good start. The Pirates are sucktastic against left handed pitchers (sounds like another team I know), and Hamels showed a lot of improvement in his last start. I figured he'd handle the Pirates pretty well. And he did. Hamels went eight strong innings, notching six strikeouts and just one walk. The two runs came from a Brandon Inge double in the fourth (thanks in part to both Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins, who each did their part in letting that ball through the infield), and a Gaby Sanchez homer in the eighth. It was great to see Hamels get into a groove. He lowered his ERA a full run tonight, to 5.40. And some credit goes to Phillippe Aumont, who pitched a clean 1-2-3 top of the ninth. A nice change from walking everyone in sight.
Of course, I also expected the Phillies' bats to go silent. Coming into tonight, the Phillies have a team average of just .200 versus left handed batters. They had only four hits tonight, and were at one point unable to capitalize on a leadoff triple from John Mayberry (thanks to his own incompetent base running, natch). Their next best chance to score came in the eighth inning, when Laynce Nix knocked a pinch hit single, and Michael followed with a two out single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. Ryan Howard grounded to first to end the inning. They were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Jeff Locke, who came into tonight with a 5.17 ERA, lowered that by a run and a half, and doubled his strikeout total for the year -- he had six, but after facing the Phillies, now has 12.
Jason Grilli came in to pitch the ninth, which was sadly appropriate. Grilli pitched for the IronPigs in 2011, doing well (1.93 ERA in 32 2/3 innings), but was released in July of that year because the Phillies are really bad at this. He was immediately signed to a minor league contract with the Pirates and now he's their closer. Tonight's save is eight on the year for Grilli, and he's being paid a fraction of what Jonathan "Embarrassing Celebration" Papelbon is.
Because God is dead, there are still two more games with sleep inducing Pirates, a team that usually manages to be both boring and incompetent at the same time, but just boring for the time being. I'm going to need more bourbon.
Fangraph of snores: