For Phillies fans hoping for a perfect 162-0 season, there’s always next year.
Cole Hamels (0-1) took the loss at Citizens’ Bank Park on Tuesday night against the visiting New York Mets. Hamels, who did not look comfortable from the start, lasted only 2.2 innings while giving up six runs on seven hits and two walks.
Cole was able to grind his way through the first two frames, but the Mets finally took advantage of his lack of command in the top of the third inning. Opposing starter Chris Young led off the inning with a single to left, and shortstop Jose Reyes followed him by reaching safely on a bunt single. After Hamels walked center fielder Angel Pagan to load the bases with no outs, third baseman David Wright drove in both Young and Reyes with a single to left to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. After Carlos Beltran struck out, Wright stole second, and the Mets had runners at second and third with one out. With left fielder Scott Hairston at bat, the normally sure handed Carlos Ruiz let a pitch in the dirt pass him, which brought Pagan home and allowed Wright to move to third. Hairston eventually drew a walk, and first baseman Ike Davis followed him with a single to center, scoring Wright. Two more singles, including a second from Young who led off the inning, led to a 6-0 lead for the Mets and the end of Hamels’ first start of the 2011 season. The Mets totaled six hits and drew two walks in the inning.
The Mets tacked on another run in the top of the sixth off of reliever David Herndon.
Aside from his three-hit night at the plate, the aforementioned Young (1-0) held the Phillies batters in check for most of the night from the mound. After posting double-digit hits in their first three games, the Phils’ looked baffled by Young’s 6 foot 10 inch frame and slow delivery. Young pitched 5.1 innings, giving up only one run on five hits while striking out seven.
The Phillies threatened to make the contest interesting in the bottom of the fifth inning. With one out, Wilson Valdez reached first on an infield single the trickled up the middle off of Young’s glove. Rookie Michael Martinez followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with one out. After Shane Victorino struck out, Placido Polanco drove a double past the diving Wright to bring Valdez home and cut the Mets’ lead to 6-1. Jimmy Rollins reached with a walk to load the bases with two outs to bring Ryan Howard to the plate, who had struck out his first two at bats. Howard was unable to do any damage, however, and hit a weak ground ball to the right side which ended the inning.
Hamels is arguably the most important pitcher on the vaunted Phillies’ staff. Sure, the losing a Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Roy Oswalt due to injury or otherwise would be a huge blow to the team’s championship aspirations. But barring injury, Hamels should be able to win 20 games in his sleep while pitching against the opposition’s #4 starter.
It’s only one game, but Hamels certainly didn’t have look or control of a pitcher poised to have a break out year. He’ll get the chance to right the ship on Sunday for the finale of the upcoming weekend series versus the Atlanta Braves.
Notes: Young became the first pitcher in Mets’ history with two hits in the same inning; Kyle Kendrick pitched 2.1 innings of shutout relief, one day after it was reported that his 2008 World Series ring was stolen from his home; the Phillies bullpen has given up at least one run in all four games so far this season; former Phillie J.A. Happ made his first start of the year for the Houston Astros, giving up seven runs in four innings