Cole Hamels is having a very strange season. He had 24 pitches in the first inning, 51 through two and 77 through three. He walked two more batters and now leads the NL with 24 walks in 56.2 innings. One of those walks came after he started Asdrubal Cabrera 0-2.
Hamels had pitched well in his previous six starts, recording a 2.41 ERA and .186 opponents' batting average, but control has been an issue all along. He's had starts of four, five and six walks. He's had three starts of five or more earned runs. He's allowed multiple homers twice. He just hasn't gotten going.
Maybe some of it is Hamels trying to be too fine because he knows he's getting no run support. The Phillies had scored four runs in his 41 innings in the six starts prior to Wednesday.
But he's also been unable to put batters away. He's averaging 7.5 strikeouts per nine a year after averaging 9.0. Rather than swinging and missing, batters are fouling pitches off and preventing Hamels from going deep into games. He came in averaging over 20 foul balls per game. On Wednesday the Indians fouled off 16 pitches in the first two innings.
Hamels is now 1-6 on the season with a 4.61 ERA. Through his first nine starts last year he was 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA, 11 fewer walks and 19 more strikeouts.
Offensively, the Phillies did very little against Corey Kluber, who entered with a 5.64 ERA and .311 opponents' batting average. Jimmy Rollins was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, but the rest of the team was 5-for-27 with no extra-base hits until Carlos Ruiz's ninth-inning RBI double. (Ruiz barely ran and was clearly out at second, but for some reason was called safe.)
The Phils are off Thursday before opening a three-game weekend series with the Cincinnati Reds. Cliff Lee (4-2, 2.86) takes on rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani (2-0, 2.89) in Friday's opener.
MRI for Adams
Mike Adams told reporters after Wednesday's game that his back felt "horrible" yesterday and he had an injection to loosen it up. The $6 million setup man hasn't ruled out getting an MRI.