Hamels Bizarre Season Continues in Phillies 8-5 Loss to Brewers
PHILADELPHIA—The Phillies $144 million man has had more downs than ups through the first third of this frustrating season. Fault has been in equal parts on Messrs. Hamels and Murphy, as in, “Murphy’s Law.”
What happened tonight was almost all the other guy.
Saddled by arguably the most bizarre series of events in his career, Cole Hamels dumb lucked his way to seven runs, six earned, in only five innings in an 8-5 loss to the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park tonight.
Here’s how the zaniness unfolded.
After Hamels plunked Carlos Gomez with one out in the second inning, Gomez stole second and took third on a wide throw by Humberto Quintero. Jonathan Lucroy laced one to right within arm's reach of Delmon Young. Two screwy runs scored.
In the third, Norichika Aoki mooned one over Hamels' shoulder he had to try to barehand. It dropped. Jean Seguera dribbled one to Cesar Hernandez, who in his second major league start erred. Ryan Braun popped a blooper right between Ryan Howard and Young. Aramis Ramirez poked a broken-bat RBI single just out of the infield.
Next, a Carlos Gomez sac fly and Jonathan Lucroy RBI single. Pretty standard.
But then Yuniesky Betancourt comebacker that crashed off Hamels’ glove. Four more runs plated.
“The game of baseball is very funny,” Hamels said. “Just the situation that I have to deal with, I don’t have a lot of control over certain aspects of the game. All I can really do is fight away, make pitches and obviously try to make the right pitches.”
Hamels’ 12 hits allowed were the most of his career. One, Lucroy’s RBI single, was straight forward. The rest? Something else entirely.
“I made two mistakes to Lucroy,” Hamels said. “It’s something where you just have to keep going out there, make a pitch, get the ball back and make another one.”
Hamels has now lost nine games, the most for a Phillie before June since Kid Gleason’s 5-9 two-month start in 1891 and the most for Hamels in a season since 2011, when he also dropped nine. His nine losses are the most in baseball, one more than Joe Blanton. The Phillies are 1-11 in his starts. They were 21-10 last year.
“Definitely it’s different,” Manuel said. “I would have never figured that he would have this much trouble winning games, of course.”
The oddity odyssey continues: the Phillies have now plated five or more runs in 16 games this year. Their only three losses in such games? Hamels first two starts of the year, and tonight. His lead in the first tonight was his first since Apr. 7 – his second start, making for a span of 62 innings. It lasted three outs. Then the Brewers took their first lead in their last 59 frames.
It was altogether the wildest procession since Roy Halladay lasted only 10 outs but struck out nine in the season opener. Their three errors didn't help. But there was more to it than that. Most years, in the grander scheme of a full 162, nights like his register as but mere blips. But the Phillies – even Hamels – have used up all their mulligans.
Now, they need wins. An opportunity to get one slipped tonight.
The Brewers entered on a six-game slide. Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo had been battered for a 4.79 ERA this year, and opened tonight wild as ever. He needed 36 pitches to close the first inning. In the meantime, Jimmy Rollins singled and Ryan Howard walked to set the table for Domonic Brown, who crushed only his fourth multi-run home run of the season for a 3-0 lead.
Brown added another in the sixth, a deep rope to right pull within two. His 15 homers this year lead the National League and 12 this month are tied with Miguel Cabrera for most in the majors and most for a Phillie since Ryan Howard in 2006. It was only his third career multi-home run game and second in three games.
It also wasn’t enough.
With a Jimmy Rollins shot in the third, the Phillies have scored 18 runs in their last five games, 16 off of 12 home runs. When the power stroke cools, how to score?
The night's only silver lining rusted by the ninth. Hours after he Phillies released Chad Durbin, the third change to the seven-man bullpen that opened the year, Mike Stutes and Justin De Fratus tossed three scoreless innings. De Fratus’ two frames tonight make for half his season’s total.
Then Mike Adams served Lucroy a solo shot.
Whatever it was, it all started with Hamels.
You get the feeling it's yet to end, for him or the Phillies.
“No matter what my statistics look like, you want the team to come away with a win when you’re out there,” Hamels said. “That hasn’t happened too much.”