Hamels Turns A Corner?
But he certainly looked good tonight at PNC Park.
He threw eight shutout innings. His fastball had a lot of life on it. He dominated, which is what people have come to expect from him.
“I’m not really trying to force it,” he said. “The stuff that I’ve had, it’s gotten me to the big leagues. It’s gotten me to have success. Why do I have to try to be better or expect more out of myself when I was able to get the job done pretty well with the stuff that I normally have?
“I have the stuff to be here,” Hamels said. “I have the stuff to succeed. I have the stuff to succeed in the postseason. Why was I getting carried away trying to be somebody else I’m not? Even with the stuff I have, it’s pretty good. I don’t think Mark Buehrle went out and tried to be even better when he threw a perfect game. He just threw a game and it became a perfect game.”
It goes without saying how much better this team looks with Hamels throwing well alongside Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ.
Of course, there is the matter of the ninth inning. Brad Lidge has blown a Major League-leading nine saves this season. Madson has blown five, including one last night. He was pitching for Lidge, who had pitched in four consecutive games.
Madson officially served as the team’s closer June 7-25, when Lidge spent time on the disabled list with an injured right knee. (Madson also picked up saves in Lidge’s absence April 27 and June 2.) He went 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA and two saves in four opportunities in nine appearances. In nine innings, he allowed 11 hits, five runs, five earned runs, four walks and three home runs and struck out 10. In his other 54 appearances before Wednesday, he went 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA. In 52 innings, he had allowed 42 hits, 16 runs, 15 earned runs, 15 walks and two home runs and had struck out 52.
“I think Madson can close,” Manuel said. “I know he can close. It’s kind of Lidge. Get in a groove and get going.”
But it certainly is worth noting that Brett Myers struck out five in two innings tonight for Double A Reading. It looks like Myers is motivated. Like I said yesterday, I think Myers will have to pitch really well to convince the Phillies to make a move in the closer’s role, if Lidge continues to struggle. We’ll see.
Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer in the 10th to win it. Howard is hitting .333 (23-for-69) with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in last 17 games.
“The Big Piece was right on time,” Manuel said, referring to Howard. “He was running from behind, but caught up at the end. The Big Piece is all right, especially when he hits three-run bombs.”