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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hamels Pitches 8 Shutout Innings; Phils Win

Cole Hamels threw eight shutout innings to give the Phillies their first playoff win in 15 years, beating Milwaukee 3-1. He only got into trouble one time, and went into the fifth inning before giving up a hit. It was easily the biggest win of his career, and at least temporarily ended chatter that he’s not the ace or, more specifically, the “horse” of the staff.

The offense offered very little support, and based on last year’s playoff that may be reason for concern. Chase Utley came through with the only extra-base hit by the Phillies, a double that was scored an error, to score two runs. Ryan Howard walked three times and might have to get used to that.

Brad Lidge continued to need plenty of pitches to get the save. I thought it was iffy to take Hamels out, but he was over 100 pitches and it’s hard to argue with bringing in a guy that is now 42 out of 42 in save situations. Is it time to be concerned about Lidge? Possibly, but it would be idiotic to wait too long to bring him in. And, as they’re saying on Comcast’s post-game show, his long layoff (3 days) may have been an issue.

Unbelievably, not one run was earned. The Phillies only scored in the third inning. Utley’s hit came after an error that allowed him to come up to bat with two outs, and the third run was walked in. Milwaukee scored on a Chase Utley error.

Why Philadelphia struggles to love Hamels – he said in the post-game interview that he’s still waiting to feel the adrenaline. If true, it’s probably a good thing but it just doesn’t work for Philadelphia fans. But if he pitches like he did today, fans should just live with it.

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