Phillies-Indians (Game 41): Must-Know Stuff
Phillies (19-21) vs. Cleveland Indians (21-17)
First pitch at 1:05 p.m.
Last night’s 6-2 win was all kinds of uplifting.
The Phillies scored early, added late and punched back when they needed to. The bullpen piecemealed a whole seven outs of relief to get a win for a starter that, you know, did his job.
And the heroes of the night: Jonathan Pettibone (2 ER in 6 2/3 IP) Dom Brown, Carlos Ruiz, John Mayberry Jr. (6-8 hitters went 6 for 11 with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored) Justin De Fratus and Jeremy Horst (two huge outs to get to Jonathan Papelbon before the Phillies added two runs of insurance).
But the Phillies have punched singular such games plenty of times this year.
They’ve just yet to do it consistently. Attempt No. 1 to build off of that: today.
Support Cole Hamels!
The crummy run support Hamels (1-5, 4.18) is getting is anything but extraordinary – especially not among aces. But (reaches for the $173 million payroll card…) this lineup isn’t paid to be average.
They can’t keep wasting starts from their $144 million No. 1 – or anyone in any wage bracket. Period.
Hamels has stuck a 2.35 ERA in his last five starts, yet the team is 1-4 in them because they’ve plated only 10 runs and been blanked twice in the span. Simply unforgivable.
Still, Hamels has to curb his control issues.
After entering the year with only four starts of five walks or more, he’s had two already, both in his last three starts. He’s walked 11 in his last 20 frames.
That’s insane for Hamels.
His 3.95 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the last three years ranked fourth in baseball, where Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay were Nos. 1 and 2. It’s never been lower than 3.02 in a single major league season. Yet, through one and a half months, it’s a putrid 1.95, which ranks 78th of 106 qualifying starters.
Hamels was mushed in his only career start against the Tribe, for six earned in only five frames… in June 2007. Michael Bourn is 8 for 27 lifetime off Hamels. The rest of the roster has managed a flimsy .205 average in 39 at-bats against him in his career.
The Other Guy
Maybe Hamels has been outdueled in back to back starts by guys the Phillies haven’t seen before this year. But Corey Kluber (2-2, 5.64 ERA) isn’t a prime candidate to make it three in a row.
Three of five starts this year for the 27-year-old right-hander have lasted fewer than five innings. His last time out, the Tigers hung eight runs on 11 hits on him in only 4 2/3 innings. Kluber’s surrendered 11 earned in his last 10 1/3, which only spans two starts. Less than bueno.
Hot and Not
Dom Brown hit his team-high eighth home run last night. It was his fourth in 13 games in May, when he's batting .300 and slugging .560.
Chase Utley and Ben Revere are likely due back in the lineup after getting a day to rest yesterday. Utley’s hitting .379 in his last 29 at-bats spanning seven games. Revere’s quietly hitting .375 in 12 games this month.
Michael Brantley, whose two-run single yesterday was, basically, Cleveland’s offense, is batting .361 over his last 10 games and has reached safely in each of his last five.
How many times this year could the Phillies bullpen say they outclassed its counterpart?
Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus, Jeremy Horst and Jonathan Papelbon tossed a combined 2 1/3 scoreless yesterday, giving the relief staff only one run in their last 6 1/3 frames.
De Fratus and Horst punched huge outs to get two of the hottest hitters on the hottest offense in baseball, Mark Reynolds and Brantley, with men on first and third in the eighth of a two-run game.
For an idea of what’s likely when the Phillies summon a fifth starter on May 21: Phillippe Aumont didn’t begin warming until Papelbon took over in the ninth, and hasn’t appeared since May 9.
Meanwhile, the Phillies hung two earned on the owners of the third-highest relief ERA these Indians. Go figure.