If there’s a bad thing about the Phillies having the division all but wrapped up a week before the regular season ends, its that it seems as if they are taking forever to make it official. After Sunday’s 7-3 loss in the weekend series finale to the New York Mets, Phillies fan will have to wait at least one more day to pop the champagne.
Cole Hamels (12-11) had his worst outing in recent memory, lasting only four innings and giving up five earned runs on nine hits and three walks. He only managed to strike out two. It was Cole’s first loss since August 19th, a 5-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He certainly didn’t look comfortable early in the game, and seemed to be affected by the home plate umpire and not getting the strike calls he wanted. The latter observation is somewhat concerning since Cole’s psyche has rebounded so nicely over the past few months.
The Mets hit two solo homeruns off of Hamels, one from third baseman David Wright in the top of the 2nd, and one from center fielder Carlos Beltran in the top of the 5th. Left fielder Nick Evans (2) and shortstop Jose Reyes also had RBIs for the Mets.
The Phillies were able to make a game out of it in the bottom of the fifth inning. Chase Utley blasted a three-run homer to right field off of Mets’ starter Pat Misch to cut their lead to 5-3 at the time. However, with the Phillies offense being stymied for much of the game, the comeback fell short. The Mets’ added two more runs in the top of the ninth when Carlos Beltran hit his second homerun of the game, a two run shot off of reliever Ryan Madson.
The weekend series loss to the Mets was the first series loss for the Phillies since they were swept at home by the Houston Astros back in August. It was also the first loss by the “Bermuda Triangle,” Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt, since Halladay lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers back on August 30th.
The good news for the Phillies and their fans is that the Atlanta Braves lost again today in Washington to the Nationals, which drops the Phils’ magic number down to 1. The Phillies will travel down the D.C. to face those very Nationals on Monday night, with Roy Halladay going for win 21 against Washington starter John Lannan. You can bet there will be plenty of Phillies fans making the trip down I-95 for a potential division-clinching game. The Braves begin a three game series with the Florida Marlins on Monday night. The Braves’ loss actually guaranteed the Phillies at least a share of the NL East division title. A Phillies win or a Braves loss clinches the title for the Phils.
Yes Tom Petty, waiting IS the hardest part.