Drenched in sweat, the struggling lefty's night ended after giving up 10 hits and four runs in just five innings in a 4-2 loss to the Mets.
Hamels addressed the media for the first time in a couple weeks and put his night into words for the Inquirer's Ray Parrillo. [Link] To paraphrase, Hamels said he battled the mound and had trouble getting the right footing for his curveball, leaving him with two pitches, but he stressed it was no excuse, saying it had more to do with pitch selection and nothing to do with health or wearing down.
It's that last part I've been wondering about most lately: the fatigue factor. He gets into these long innings, as he did in the second and third, and it clearly looks like he's fought 12 rounds. It reminds me of the Hamels we saw in Game 1 of the 2007 NLDS. It was a sneaky hot late afternoon game, and with the Phils amped up for their first postseason game, Hamels and his teammates arrived hours early and saved nothing for the game. He made it worse by wearing that long undershirt. In any event, that's how he looked in this latest hard slog, made even harder by his own mounting frustration.
One can't help but wonder about fatigue, preseason preparation and all the innings he logged last season. On the mound, his fastball remains the core issue. Let's face it: it's as straight as an arrow and always has been. Even at his best, it's about as true as Jose Mesa's. It's a pitch he must locate, or he'll have nights like this one, and I have to believe fatigue is playing a part in that. On the flipside, his change-up looked fine.
A tired Hamels can only hurt the Phillies, which is why the Phils may be wise to capitalize on that sixth starter luxury and give their slumping lefty the extra rest with eyes starting to shift toward October. Extra innings and rain delays permitting, I'd skip his next turn entirely and let Jamie Moyer replace him against Pittsburgh. I can't see how it would hurt.