Traditionally a better pitcher at night, big mistakes and lost composure have led Cole Hamels astray this postseason. Tonight, he’ll make his first nighttime start following a pair of poor afternoon outings.
In my endless search for new ideas, a colleague observed similarities between Cole Hamels and Vicente Padilla circa 2005. That is, Cole’s been making boneheaded mistakes the way Vicente used to, and he’s getting rattled by situations beyond his control, which was Padilla's claim to fame during his time in Philadelphia. However, Hamels can draw on several key assets Padilla never had at his disposal. First, Hamels holds the blueprint for postseason success, drawn up during the 2008 postseason. Second, a pair of dogged teammates in Cliff Lee and Pedro Martinez offered a perfect example of how it’s done against these Dodgers. Third, Hamels has a team he can lean on, including a superior handler in Carlos Ruiz. At home, under the lights, this should be Hamels’ night.
Speaking of Padilla, that same colleague raised another good point. In Game 2, Padilla attacked the Phils with first-pitch strikes, and although patience has been a virtue for the Phils all postseason, this may be a case where an aggressive approach early in the count could be beneficial in avoiding those tailing fastballs he’ll work in later in the count.
On a related subject, what does it say about the Dodgers to sidestep their Game 1 starter in favor of a guy who was cast aside and out of work just weeks ago? Pretty amazing. Time for the Phillies to bury this team.