Some people would trade the win for this kind of refreshing performance from Cole Hamels.
The “a-ha” moment for Hamels came in the top of the third after the pitcher, Nate Robertson, roped a double into the gap. From that point forward, the left-hander became boorish with his fastball, buzzing Cameron Maybin’s tower with the next pitch, serving warning that the safest place for Marlins hitters would be back on their heels. With better movement and location than we’ve seen in a long time, Hamels’ previously flat fastball, and repertoire reminiscent of the glory days in 2008, guided him to a spectacular 8-strikeout, 0-walk loss in the series decider. Let it serve as a template for future starts. (Scouts, who recently told Jayson Stark that he's nothing but a middle-of-the-road starter if he continues to favor the cutter over changing eye levels and mixing in the curve, would agree).
So where were the bats? For starters, scoring was at a premium on both sides – for the last two games really - as strong winds continued to rush in from left field, zapping the power game. The Phillies couldn’t get it going against Robertson, who is something of an unknown quantity, and a lefty; Chase Utley and Ryan Howard went hitless. And when runners did get aboard, it was usually ahead of Hamels, who stranded five. Overall, the conditions favored pitching the last two games. Take away Jamie Moyer’s first inning, and all four pitchers capitalized.
Werth’s no-go: I like the chances of a poor throw better than Hamels knocking in the run. It looked like Maybin’s hesitation caused Werth to double back, or it’s possible Werth thought it would drop in and he was caught off guard. In any event, he should have been prepared to dart home once Chooch lifted the ball to the outfield with the pitcher on deck. It was borderline deep enough.
MG sounds off on Madson, bench, Ibanez: “Why is Madson throwing more cutters and curveballs and less 4-seem fastball and change-ups? Gave up that double to Uggla on a piss-poor cutter that was dead-center about waist-high. Any semi-decent hitter is going to get a good hack at that pitch. It is almost like Madson forgot what made him a better reliever starting in late 2008. ... Gload and Dobbs looked feeble in the ninth and the bench is now 1-12 in pinch hits. Hard to take good hacks though against a guy like Nunez when you have seen more playing time in 2+ weeks. On Ibanez, he took two pitches and wound up looking about as badly as you could against a change-up. I doubt that Francisco gets a start in the Braves' series because of the right-handed starters (Hanson, Hudson, & Lowe) but Ibanez is in a pretty deep funk at the plate and has terrible career numbers vs. Lowe (2-25, 2 HRs).”