Sunday, November 1, 2009

Phils, Hamels struggle again; trail 2-1

The Phillies may be in trouble. Sure, they are only trailing in the series 2-1, but there are so many bad signs.

Cole Hamels, dominant through three innings, lost his composure and once again failed to make it through the fifth inning. He'd be in line to start a potential Game 7 against CC Sabathia; any Philly fans feeling confident heading into that game? Hamels had not surrendered a hit entering the fourth, but didn't get the call on a close pitch to Mark Teixiera, resulting in a lead-off walk. Next, A-Roids broke out of his series slump with a drive down the right field line that was initially ruled a double, but overturned when umpires reviewed the play and determined the ball would have cleared the fence, if not for the camera that the ball hit.

How did a call get overturned based solely on judgement? This is another misuse of replay. In the NFL, the call on the field stands unless there is clear, indisputable evidence to reverse the call. The umpires made a judgement call, speculating that had the camera not been there, the ball would have cleared the fence. It could have hit the top of the fence and come back into play. There is no way to know for sure. The angle of the ball had it coming down pretty much on the top of the fence; the ball could have gone either way. It probably would have gone for a home run, but using replay to make a judgement call is contradictory. That is what the on field call should be, not if it goes to replay. Hamels completely lost it in the fifth and the bullpen was average. Most people see Hamels as a key to this series but he disappointed once again.

The offense was there, but all three home runs were solo shots. The Yankees hit with men on base and the Phillies didn't. The scary thing is, the Phillies haven't come close, in their two losses, to any late game dramatics that they've enjoyed all season and throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs. With Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Phillies haven't done anything. He is that shut down guy that Brad Lidge was last season, and if he comes into the game with the lead, he doesn't look like he's going to surrender it.

Ryan Howard looked terrible for a second straight game and Chase Utley was awful as the dish last night as well. Jayson Werth and Chooch Ruiz are the only ones producing right now; a trend that needs to end tonight for the Phillies to have a chance in this series. Here are some players' averages through the first three games:

Ryan Howard- .154
Chase Utley- .182
Jimmy Rollins- .200
Shane Victorino- .182
Raul Ibanez- .250
Pedro Feliz- .091

Meanwhile, Werth is hitting .400 and Chooch is batting .333.

The Phillies need a big night against Sabathia to stay in this series tonight. Hopefully going to Big Joe Blanton is the right move.

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