Lefty giving up more walks than usual in early starts
By Christina De Nicola
Special to MLB.com |
MIAMI -- Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is a competitor, so games like Saturday's 7-0 loss to the Marlins bring out the frustration in the 10-year veteran.
While Philadelphia couldn't string together hits en route to its third shutout and fifth straight loss, Hamels gave up a season-high six runs on 10 hits over six innings, while walking three batters and striking out six. He has dropped three of his first six starts.
Hamels quickly fell behind in the second inning on Martin Prado's three-run homer. After an appeal play wiped out a first-and-third situation with no outs, Dan Haren executed a sacrifice bunt to place a runner at second. With two outs, Hamels walked Dee Gordon before Prado's swing. Miami would build up a 5-0 lead by the fourth and score in five different frames.
"I don't like to lose, so I think that's the No. 1 thing I always preach," Hamels said. "I want to win, I want to get the opportunity to win, and it hasn't been the case because of what I've been doing. Giving up early runs, giving up home runs, giving up more than 2-3 runs. You're not giving yourself a chance or any sort of opportunity.
"I might not necessarily be -- beside today -- giving up a lot of hits but walking too many guys, giving them way too much credit. When you're trying to be too fine, then I think it's hard to bounce back and try to locate the next 3-4 pitches in a row to get yourself out of a jam, as opposed to if you're locating right away and they get themselves out."
When asked whether the club's struggles might be affecting Hamels' production, manager Ryne Sandberg said the southpaw appeared frustrated throughout the outing, particularly on pitches he likely wished he had back.
"I think he missed some pitches, some location on pitches and he also made some good pitches that were hit," Sandberg said. "He got behind early and we had zeroes up on the offensive side of things."
Hamels has walked 19 batters over 37 innings and at least two in each of his six starts. It's uncharacteristic for him. In four of his 10 seasons, he has issued less than 50 total walks.
Hamels believes the staff as a whole may be picking and choosing battles rather than pitching "free and easy" because of the lack of offensive production. Guys are pressing. And when his command is off or he doesn't locate a pitch, "I get hammered."
Entering Saturday, Phillies starting pitchers had a 5-13 record -- the second-lowest winning percentage in baseball. The 33 runs of support rank last in the Majors.
"When you have to be very fine because of the circumstances I think you look at it is as, 'If I can't get this guy out, move to the next guy,'" Hamels said. "You're trying to get three outs without a guy advancing three bases."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.