June 03, 2015
Before the game, Ryne Sandberg talked how the entire team is in a better mindset when Cole Hamels is pitching. They sure don't hit like it, though. For the second Hamels start in a row, the Phillies almost got no-hit by an opposing middling starter. Unlike last time, they rebounded and won the game in dramatic fashion. The Phillies took game Game 2 of the three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4. Here’s what I saw:
1. Hamels’ third-inning disappearing act was a doozy. First, he walked Billy Hamilton (which should never happen) and gave up a single to Brandon Phillips. Then, Joey Votto lined out and reigning NL Player of the Week Todd Frazier struck out. After a Jay Bruce walk, Hamels finally got Zack Cozart to foul out to first and somehow escape the inning with no damage.
2. After getting into a similar jam in the fourth, Hamels wasn’t able to keep the top of the Reds order at bay. Hitting with the bases loaded, Phillips delivered a single through the hole on the left side of the infield to plate two.
3. Like last game, Hamels battled through a couple of rough innings to deliver another strong performance: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 99 pitches (64 strikes). That’s now six starts in a row that he has gone at least seven innings and surrendered no more than two runs.
4. Hamels left the game after throwing one warmup pitch in the eighth inning. Could be something, but I would guess it's nothing at all. The trainer didn't go out to see him.
1. The Phillies didn’t have any baserunners against Mike Leake until Chase Utley worked a walk in the bottom of the fourth. They didn’t have a hit until Maikel Franco delivered a single up the middle with two outs in the seventh, the second time they’ve flirted with a no-no in Hamels’ last two starts.
2. Like the last pitcher that stymied them (Colorado's Chad Bettis), the Phillies weren’t exactly facing Clayton Kershaw here. Leake came into the game with a 12.86 ERA in his last three starts.
3. The bottom of the ninth was pretty interesting, as far as these things go. Pinch-hitter Ben Revere and Jeff Francoeur (10-pitch at-bat) led off with singles to chase Leake. Reds manager Bryan Price (who might've waited too long) brought in flamethrower Aroldis Chapman, who immediately coaxed a sac fly from Utley.
After Ryan Howard drew a walk, Franco crushed a 98 mph fastball 414 feet into the left field seats to tie the game up. Just like that, it went from 4-0 to 4-4. It's the second night in a row that the kid hit a huge homer with men on base late in the game. In a season where the Phillies haven't done all that much right, fans can surely savor these type of moments.
4. Baseball can be funny sometimes. Freddy Galvis entered his 11th-inning at-bat hitless in his last 21 at-bats, so of course he was the guy that ended the game. He didn't get a hit, but pitcher Ryan Mattheus' bizarre error allowed Cody Asche to score from second and send the fans home happy.
1. Pitching for just the third time since May 22nd, Ken Giles worked a clean eighth inning. His fastball was generally sitting around 97 mph.
2. Jake Diekman's nightmare season continues. He served up a long two-run homer to Votto in the ninth inning. His ERA is now up to 7.20.
3. Jonathan Papelbon walked the lead-off man in the top of the tenth, but he rebounded nicely to escape the inning with no runs allowed. I'm sure Sandberg was pretty excited that he could legitimately use his closer two straight nights. Luis Garcia escaped similar trouble in the eleventh, and he was your winning pitcher.
1. Hamilton still needs to figure out how to get on base more, but he puts so much pressure on a defense when he does. Just in this game, he stole a base, almost got picked off by Hamels but was fast enough to recover back to the bag, and caused Howard/Hamels to botch what is usually a routine 3-1 flip at first.
2. Speaking of Hamilton, Galvis made a terrific diving stab and quick throw behind second base to nab the speedster at first in the sixth inning.
3. Cody Asche had his first gaffe in left field, even if it was a fairly small one. He didn’t get a perfect break on a Phillips liner, dove for it, and missed. Phillips was able to take an extra base on the play, but Hamels escaped the inning.
Aaron Harang (4-5, 2.02 ERA), who is winless in his last three starts despite never allowing more than two earned runs, will get the ball in the final game of the series tomorrow against Cincinnati right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (3-4, 3.41 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann