Win escapes Hamels despite impressive start
Veteran leaves with lead, but Phils falter late
PHILADELPHIA -- As the frustration mounts, Cole Hamels knows the only way to stay sane is to stay optimistic.
"It's something I've learned to control and learned to get over," Hamels said after the Phillies' 4-3 loss to the Brewers Tuesday night. "Just try to focus and be positive for the guys."
Hamels tossed seven innings and allowed two runs, striking out seven Brewers in an effort where his name was left off the win column. It was the 10th time this year Hamels threw at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. It was also the fifth time he had done that and didn't get a win to show for it.
Hamels, who is 5-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a WHIP of 1.15, was in line to earn the win at one point as he left the game with a one-run lead, but that lead and the Phillies' chances for victory slipped away in the eighth inning. Since he threw 111 pitches and he'll have to make his next two starts with no built-in rest day, Hamels said he didn't think he could've trotted back to the mound for the eighth. And with the game out of control, Hamels said all that was left for him was to root for his teammates and hope for the best.
As small of a cushion as one run may have been, three runs of support is still more than he's been accustomed to this season, especially as of late. Coming into Tuesday, the Phillies had scored three runs in the last 33 innings he had thrown and just 27 runs in all of his starts combined. That averages out to 1.8 runs per start, and that is without factoring out the outlier of when the Phillies scored eight runs in one game. That number rose to 1.875 runs per start after Tuesday.
The runs Hamels did allow came early. The 31-year-old gave up two runs on two singles and a walk in the first inning. Both of the RBIs came off one swing, as Aramis Ramirez took advantage of a poorly placed 2-2 cutter to plate Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun.
"The cutter just stayed straight and Aramis hit it," Hamels said. "It's probably more of a frustration pitch because I know I've been able to throw that pitch successfully nine out of 10 times. That was the one time it didn't work out, and with two guys on it makes it tough, especially to put your team down early."
One of the logical assumptions to make is that Hamels' early struggles were a result of the one-hour, 19-minute rain delay that preceded the game and the fact that it messed with his warmup schedule. Hamels didn't think so, however, because of the entertainment on the team's video board.
"I thought it was awesome," Hamels said. "I got to watch the [U.S. Women's National Team] soccer game. So at least I got to watch some soccer with the fans. That was kind of enjoyable."