A 33-36 record is a pretty good representation of how the Phillies have played in the last two weeks or so. 5 straight wins, 5 consecutive losses, then 2 wins and another loss leave the team in an awkward position. They're not completely out of the mix, but they aren't running away with it either. As one of my friend's put it, "They're playing just well enough so they won't trade for prospects, but bad enough to miss the second wild card." Today, Cole Hamels aimed to put the Phils on track to being well in the playoff mix. Standing in the way was Jhoulys Chacin, Coors Field, and a string of questionable defense.
Chacin worked rapidly through the first inning, setting the Phillies down in order on just nine pitches. Hamels would have to throw a few more, 21 to be exact, but allowed just a single to Dexter Fowler before retiring the next three batters.
Domonic Brown would single with one out in the second, but no score would come of it. Wilin Rosario welcomed Hamels to the second inning by drilling the first pitch of the at bat to the right field seats. However, Hamels would use an inning-ending double play to leave the damage at just one run. 1-0 Rockies.
From the top of the third through the bottom of the sixth, neither team reached base, as both Hamels and Chacin settled in and worked rapid frames. In less than 90 minutes, the game was already halfway through the seventh inning. In that seventh inning, both Kevin Frandsen and Ryan Howard would single. Frandsen would be erased on a double play, and Howard on a Brown ground out. Chacin sat at 64 pitches thrown after the inning.
Hamels would also allow baserunnes in the seventh. Carlos Gonzalez opened things up by reaching first when Frandsen couldn't make the play on a strong ground ball up the middle. Michael Cuddyer dunked a ball to right field, and it turned into a double. With two runners in scoring position and nobody out, Rosario shot a ball to Freddy Galvis at third. Galvis spun to make the play, and when Gonzales did not take off, Freddy made the play at first for out number one. Jordan Pachecho grounded another ball to Galvis. This time, Gonzalez took off, and Freddy had no play at the plate. A throw to first would record the second out. Nolan Arenado followed with a looping single to the right field gap, giving Colorado their third run of the game. Chacin would reach to load the bases when Jimmy Rollins could not get a grip on a bare handed play. However, Fowler would ground out on the next pitch to end the frame. 3-0 Rockies.
It is worth noting the inconsistent ball/strike calling of home plate umpire Marvin Hudson in the seventh inning. Hamels should have been out of the inning much earlier, and made it known by shouting rather loudly at Hudson as the inning ended. Now, this is not an excuse for the Phillies' awful lack of offensive production today, but officiating mistakes are not helpful in crucial situations.
Justin De Fratus would come on to pitch the eighth. Josh Rutledge took a walk to lead it off, allowing Carlos Gonzalez to crush a 2-run homerun. Now 5-0 Rockies. A Cuddyer single forced an early exit for De Fratus, and an appearance by...
Bastardo did get Rosario to ground one, but Galvis failed to make the throw, and two Rockies were on with no one out. Pachecho followed by flying out to right field, Arenado popped out to Frandsen, and Chacin grounded out to end it. 5-0 Rockies lead.
Chacin would come on to finish the game, but allows Revere to single with one out. Rollins would be up with two away, and doubled to score Revere. The shutout was over, and a following Howard single would give them a second run. Chacin would be removed from the game after 8.2 innings pitched. Rex Brothers closed the game out by striking out Dom Brown. 5-2 Rockies win.
No fault can be put on Cole Hamels for today's loss. He pitched extremely well, and really only gave up a single earned run in his seven innings of work. The offense was downright putrid in many fashions. A distinct lack of discipline allowed Chacin to head to the ninth with only 74 pitches thrown. Excellent pitching certainly helps win ballgames, but a missing offense does nothing but hurt. Now back to four games under the .500 mark, the Phillies must look to another struggling NL East squad. The Washington Nationals, a World Series contender heading into the season, has failed to live up o expectations. They'll head to Philadelphia for tomorrow night's 7:05 game that will pit Dan Haren against a returning John Lannan.