Hamels and Distractions

dubee.jpgA few reporters chatted with Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee before tonight’s game about Cole Hamels, who is 4-5 with a 4.98 ERA and is 0-3 with a 6.18 ERA in his last five starts.

Here is what he said:

Question: Hamels jumped from a combined 190 innings in 2007 to a combined 262 2/3 innings in 2008. Could that jump be a reason why he has struggled?
Answer: It could be a lot of factors. His command hasn’t been very good. I don’t know if it’s innings last year. If it’s physical or mental, if he hasn’t focused as keenly as he did. Who knows? It could be a bunch of things, but he definitely hasn’t been as sharp. … It could be a number of things going on.

Q: What’s your level of concern, if there is any?
A: No more than any other pitcher we have. The same level of concern.

Q: You mentioned focus. Is that something that is going on with him?
A: I think it’s happened with our whole team. Oh, yeah. Some of the mistakes we’ve made? Yeah. We’ve seemed distracted at times. But again, the second half of last year we played very, very well. We didn’t make mental mistakes. We didn’t make sloppy mistakes pitching. We’ve made a lot of those. Whether it’s we’re physically tired or mentally not there, I don’t know which one it is, but we haven’t been as sharp as we need to be.

Q: How much have you talked about distractions?
A: We’ve talked about it some, yeah. You have make them aware of it. You have to make them aware of what you see. The way they’re acting.

Charlie Manuel said he is not worried about Hamels. “I see the same guy,” he said. But he also said the jump in innings from 2007 to 2008 could be a factor in his struggles.

“This guy was used to throwing 180 innings,” he said. “When he threw 262, that’s a jump. Also, the season’s longer, and his winter was shorter. The rest, during the winter, that comes into play. All that can affect you. All that’s mental. It’s a process of learning how to get through, if that makes sense. He had a long season to get to the end, and then, he had a short winter. That might have something to do with it.”


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It seems like the entire team is distracted. Now that we are tied for first with the Mets and Braves close behind, is it time to panic? This team doesn’t seem to have that chip on their shoulder like last years did. Can they turn it on like they did last year? I’m not sure, but I think we need to stop comparing them to last year. This year they are the target, they had a shortened offseason, and they seem overconfident. They need to start winning games and stop waiting for other teams to lose them.

Charlie isn’t worried, Lidge feels great, nothing’s wrong with Jimmy, Madson is throwing well, they’re still in first place – we’re tired of hearing it.
It’s like the guy who eats cheesesteaks for lunch every day. He weighs 175 pounds, until on day he wakes up and realizes he’s 235. “How’d that happen?”
Stuff catches up with you. Nobody is worried until it’s too late.

rayzor: Don’t forget about the Marlin.

Two positives from tonight’s loss: J-Roll had 2 hits and his at bats he seemed much more patient. Also Happ pitched a heck of game. Right now I’m worried about Madson. He has been quite the same since he was the closer for a short time. Maybe with so many teams breathing down our necks it will give the Phils a bit of confidence to kick some butt.

This is as bad as I’ve seen the Phillies play in a couple years. At first I wasn’t as concerned when it was Interleague play but now, I don’t know. Has the winning spirit left this team?

The whole thing comes down to fundamentals. The Phillies aren’t pitching well, the team can’t hold a lead, and at times the bats go silent. The whole team needs to get back on the same page and start from scratch with fundamentals like Pete Rose style baseball. Get a base hit and move the runner and score. Pitching is in complete disarray, Amaro puts Rodrigo Lopez in Friday night? Is this a joke or just a bad dream? Amaro’s clout is on the line with this move.

This too shall pass.

I think the distractions are the reason for the slow start at home this season, and now it has carried over to the road. The team has to get more mentally sharp, IMO. We never saw the sloppy play last year that we see all too often now.
They looked real sharp last night against the Mets, especially early. JRoll, as usual set the tone. Hopefully they carry this to the All Star break and improve their record at home dramatically.

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