They fought the good fight, but the Phillies couldn't get anything going against Adam Wainwright this afternoon and fell to the Cardinals 4-1. The Phillies' winning streak (5) and Cole Hamels' scoreless innings streak (24 2/3) both came to an end today as well. They will both be mourned.
Today's pitching matchup was not undersold. Both Cole Hamels and Adam Wainwright were great. Hamels gave up two earned runs (three total) on five hits over 7 1/3 innings. Wainwright went eight full innings and gave up one run on six hits. Both pitched well, but when it came down to it, Hamels was just out dueled. The biggest difference was walks. Hamels walked five batters, which is not a small number of batters to walk. Two of those walks came around to score, so they ended up being costly.
Hamels threw 120 pitches today. So this bears mentioning:
This is the fourth start of 120+ pitches for Cole Hamels in the last 41 days.— Bill Baer (@CrashburnAlley) June 21, 2014
Now, it's important to note that until now, he's been able to handle that workload. He's thrown a lot of pitches but he continues to dominate. But I'm not sure past success in this necessarily predicts future results. There are a lot of games left to play. I can see Ryne Sandberg being gun shy about the bullpen a few weeks ago, because there have been points when they've been really, really terrible. Mind-blowingly bad. But lately that hasn't been the case. They've been spectacular, and that includes Jonathan Papelbon, who I normally like to evaluate in his own separate "idiot" category. So maybe Hamels shouldn't do that so much anymore. Don't let him "Halladay" you, Ryne! You are actually his boss! You say when he comes out of the game! Don't let him convince you that he has to finish what he starts because he hates being taken out in the middle of an inning! Noooooo!
Hamels did more than pitch well. He also notched two hits, a single and a double. Here's a fun game: Cole Hamels is hitting .269. Look at this and count how many have a higher batting average than Hamels and how many have a lower batting average. I'll wait. That was fun, right? Oh, you think it was the opposite of fun? Well, you're right about that, too! You win the super ultra special prize: nothing!
The seven hits the Phillies managed against Wainwright amounted to just one run. Until the eighth inning, that was enough to match the Cardinals. But after allowing a run, Hamels exited with property on second base. After Jake Diekman hit his first batter with a pitch, there were two runners on. That's when Carlos Ruiz had himself a bad defensive inning. It's rare, but it happened tonight. Diekman threw a ball to Chooch that he just... dropped. The runners advanced to second and third, and Chooch had earned himself a passed ball. Peralta then hit a grounder to short, and instead of being an inning-ending double play, Jimmy Rollins had to throw home to stop the runner from scoring. Chooch had the ball and leaned in to tag Matt Holliday, but he dropped the ball and a run scored. A sacrifice fly would let one more Cardinal cross the plate for a final score of 4-1, as the Phillies failed to score against Trevor Rosenthal.
Cole Hamels is a very good pitcher. His ERA is 2.76. The Phillies had to lose sometime, I just wish it didn't have to be Hamels. Why did it have to be like this?