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Hamels and Phillies can't stop Rockies in Game Two of NLDS

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Cole Hamels has been unreliable for the better part of this season.

Thursday was no exception.

Hamels was far from his postseason form of 2008, allowing four earned runs as the Rockies tied the series at one game a piece in Game Two of the 2009 NLDS. Hamels constant inability to close middle innings of a game was further demonstrated after surrendering a two-out, two-run home run to Yorvit Torrealba in the top of the fourth. It was Torrealba's first home run since (gulp).........May.

The Phillies loss was their first post season home loss since October 2007. They have lost only three home games in the playoffs since that time- ALL to the Colorado Rockies. Game three is scheduled for Saturday night in Colorado- as well as rain, sleet, and snow in the forecast.

Just like that, the Phillies go from dominating game one to coming up short in game two. Not winning the first two games at home is disappointing to say the least. You can't help but think that the Rockies now have the slight edge in this series. They have the second best record at home in the NL and will be playing two games there. The Phillies offense, looking refreshed and in fine form yesterday, was inconsistent today against Rockies starter Aaron Cook- a pitcher that they normally own. Moreover, three mental miscues from their usually impeccable defense led to the two-run differential in the game.

Charlie Manuel used starters Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ in game two, although both didn't pitch very long. Happ left the game with a leg injury after facing only one batter (X-rays were negative). As a result, nobody knows for sure who is ready for Saturday. Pedro Martinez is one possible candidate to start Saturday. However, Martinez's fastball dominating days are over, and his curve ball probably won't adapt too well to the freezing temperatures that will be waiting for him in Colorado. It's a double whammy if Martinez is still battling his stiff neck.

Some other notes to consider:

- Hamels' wife Heidi went into labor shortly before Hamels was removed from the game.  While one can understand how this could be a distraction to Hamels, he is getting paid $20 million dollars and should be able to bear down better than he did today. At times it seemed like he wasn't even in the game.  Sure, he got some bad calls and bad breaks here and there. "Balking" Bob Davidson today further cemented his reputation as one of the worst umpires in baseball.  However, that ALWAYS seems to be the case with Hamels. If the stars aren't perfectly aligned for Cole Hamels he doesn't win. His performance this season didn't exactly make anyone forget Steve Carlton. Hamels' sometimes high maintenance ways were all well and good last year when the team was successful. However, it's going to be interesting to see how things get if the Phillies don't repeat and people start pointing fingers at him. If this series goes to a decisive fifth game, Hamels might be pitching. Let's hope he's ready.

- How weak is the Phillies bench that Manuel had to use Cliff Lee to pinch run for Matt Stairs today?

- It's a hot topic right now, but it just goes to show you the limited faith Manuel has in his bull pen by throwing Blanton AND Happ in game two. All he had to do was find a way to get Martinez in the mix and all five starters would have participated in this loss. I kid, I kid, but when was the last time something like that ever happened?

- And in closing. I can't say I blame Manuel for using Blanton and Happ in today's game. To be blunt, the bullpen is a mess. Brett Myers clearly isn't healthy, and do YOU trust Kyle Kendrick? Oh yes, Manuel has his hands full. The rest of this run should be interesting if not depressing. I understand that the pen only allowed one run, but let's not kid ourselves: the only difference between this circus act and the "Flying Graysons" is that these guys don't have a mobster sabotaging their trapeze.

Hey it could be worse. At least we're not Matt Holliday..............

 

A-Fraud Report

The Yankees are off today. However, one would imagine that A-Fraud would have hit a dramatic grand slam that would give the Yankees a 15-4 lead.

thumbnail: Matt Slocum- Associated Press