If you were told that Cole Hamels would throw his best game of the season and the Phillies offense would collect an abundance of hits against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, you would sniff a win, right? Wrong.
The sky is falling for the Phillies. Nothing is going right for Charlie Manuel’s club, which lost its fourth straight game as the Cardinals edged the Phillies, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park.
It’s that the Phillies lost despite the best outing Hamels has had this season that is disturbing. The Phillies’ ace gave up five hits and three runs with eight strikeouts. Hamels had great command of his fastball, which set up his tremendous changeup. And the Phillies’ offense, which was MIA on the road against the Marlins and Reds, banged out 13 hits. But the Phillies lost a painful contest.
Trailing by a run in the ninth, the Phillies had first and third with nobody out but they couldn’t hit a ball out of the infield.
“We had some chances, we had a real good chance but we couldn’t cash in,” Manuel said. “We didn’t get the big hit.”
The Phillies fared poorly with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of eight on base.
Hamels, who looked like the guy who deserves a $144 million payday, shouldn’t have given up the first two runs of the game. John Mayberry fell in right center when attempting to make a catch in the fourth. And then Phillie killer Yadier Molina, who has a .466 lifetime average against Philadelphia, hit a ball down the right-field line. Umpire Alan Porter called the ball fair but replays indicate that it was indeed foul.
“The umpire might have missed it,” Manuel said.
The Phillies failed to draw a walk for the fourth straight game. They are the first NL team since 1935 to accomplish such an ignominious feat.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Ruben Amaro said.
But it could get better for the Phillies. After nine more games Carlos Ruiz will return to the lineup. Freddy Galvis, who can apparently play anywhere, had another solid game. And Hamels was strong.
“I thought he pitched real good,” Manuel said. “I think he had good stuff tonight.”
Hamels was sharp but he was killed by bad luck.
“I think that just comes with baseball,” Hamels said. “That’s just a situation that you have to put past you.”
Mike Adams gave up the decisive run, an opposite field homer by Carlos Beltran, which barely cleared the fence in left center field.
“There’s nothing you can do about it,” Adams said. “He struck it well. I thought maybe it was to the warning track. But it stayed up and got out.”
Speaking of out, the Phillies are already seven games behind the first place Braves less than three weeks into April.