MIAMI – The frustration has finally caught up with Cole Hamels.
No other conclusion could be drawn after the pitcher made an angry beeline out of the visiting clubhouse after suffering his seventh loss of the season in a game in which he pitched very well Monday night.
“Nope,” Hamels told reporters as he stomped toward the door after the lowly Miami Marlins beat the Phillies, 5-1 (see Instant Replay).
Hamels had a right to be ticked off.
He struck out 10 batters and walked none in six innings of two-run ball. Why only six innings? Because manager Charlie Manuel, desperate for a run, any run, had to lift Hamels at 89 pitches for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. The move failed to produce the tying run, which was not surprising because the Phillies seldom score when Hamels pitches.
“Ten Ks and no walks and we only put up one run,” said Domonic Brown. “That’s very tough on me and I’m pretty sure it’s tough on everyone else in here. We’ve just got to do a better job.”
The Phils have scored just 20 runs in the 62 2/3 innings that Hamels has pitched this season. In Hamels’ last eight starts, the Phils have scored just 13 runs while he has been in the game.
This has left Hamels with a 1-7 record. The Phillies are 1-9 in his 10 starts.
Now, Hamels has to take some of the blame for that record. He’s had a few poor starts this season. But this wasn’t one of them. He had his best fastball of the season. Pitching coach Rich Dubee said Hamels was “electric.”
In the absence of the pitcher, Dubee was asked about Hamels’ apparent frustration. Interestingly, Dubee said Hamels had been experiencing some frustration but the pitching coach said he did not see any Monday night.
“Actually this was a nice breakthrough for him,” Dubee said. “His stuff was electric tonight. He was 93 to 95.
“He’d been a little tense [in previous starts]. There’s a lot of things going on. He’s an accountable guy. He’s got the new contract. Roy [Halladay] going down. That puts a little burden on him. Not winning games. It’s weighed on him. But I thought tonight he was exceptional.”
Dubee said he did not know why Hamels would not speak with reporters after the game, but he did allude to the run-support issue when he mentioned that “tight games” had weighed on Hamels.
“Again, I think today was a big breakthrough,” Dubee said. “I think you saw electric stuff. I think it got to the point where instead of pitching away from bats and worrying about not getting runs, he got back into the mode of attacking hitters. No walks, one three-ball count. That’s Cole Hamels’ style.”
Moments before Hamels left the clubhouse in a huff, Manuel said he was concerned about the pitcher’s mindset in the wake of mounting losses and little run support.
“Yeah, I’m worried about that,” Manuel said. “I think Cole expects to be the big pitcher on our team and he expects to win and it’s hard not to get upset when you … He pitched good tonight. But at the same time, he needs some runs.
“He needs to pitch with a lead some time and have room to breathe and room if he makes a mistake. Yeah, that’s a concern of mine. I don’t know what we’re going to do about it.”
Facing the worst team and the worst offense in the National League, Hamels allowed single runs in the first and sixth innings.
That was two too many with Alex Sanabia (3-6) tying up the Phillies’ bats like so many pitchers before him.
The Phils got one run back on Brown’s solo homer in the second inning, but that was it for the night. Adding insult to injury, Chad Qualls, the man who contributed to a number of blown Phillies’ leads last year, got the final three outs for the Marlins.
The Phillies (21-24) have been held to two or fewer runs in 18 of 45 games -- 40 percent of their schedule.
Chances of a breakout Tuesday night are not good as the Phils will face right-hander Jose Fernandez. In two starts against the Phils this season, Fernandez has pitched 13 shutout innings and allowed just three hits. He has registered 14 strikeouts and walked just three.
“It’s May,” Brown said. “Time to get going. It has to start tomorrow. That’s a tough guy we’re facing. We’ve got to hit some balls hard.”
The Marlins have the NL’s worst record at 13-32. Four of their wins have come against the Phillies.
“Against us they score,” Manuel lamented.