Hamels Tagged for Seven Earned in Late Afternoon Loss

Hamels Tagged for Seven Earned in Late Afternoon Loss

Cole Hamels' struggles in the city of New York continue. The All-Star left-hander is now a stinging 1-10 lifetime in starts made on the road in NY.

Coming off his only career win against the Mets at Citi Field—or Shea, for that matter—back in May, Hamels was on the hook for a total of seven runs Saturday. His final line would read:

4.1 IP, 8H, 7ER, 4BB, 3K.

Though the seventh run would cross thanks to the very first pitch thrown by reliever David Herndon, Hamels obviously bore responsibility for the runner, resulting in the seven earned. Danys Baez would go on to cough up four extra in the seventh. Final score: 11-2.

Now, in fairness to Hamels, one of those runs—the first allowed—should be wiped from the total. Cole's first run surrendered came on an infield fly with two outs in the first. What looked like a routine fly ball was was bungled by a miscommunication between Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Either both or neither took responsibility for the catch, allowing the ball to drop and Carlos Beltran-substitute Scott Hairston—who, by the way, frigging torched the Phillies pitchers for 3H, 2R, 5RBI and 1HR—to score from second. Forget Beltran and Ludwick, get me Scott Hairston! Kidding. Sorry. Way too soon.

Replays showed a visibly upset Hamels screaming "Come on!" and other choice phrases in the direction of his infielders, a scene eerily and unfortunately reminiscent of a similar incident in the 2009 playoffs.

While we certainly remember Hamels catching his fair share of flack for that outburst way back when, this particular scenario seemed to merit his outrage. In terms of immediate electronic feedback, some of our readers (see comments) and even our own Penn State football contributor and Examiner.com college football guru Kevin McGuire were quick to defend Cole. Via Kevin's Twitter @KRMcGuire: "Cole Hamels had every right to be upset about that. It's been a while since he showed up his teammates like that." "And for the record, I'm on the side of Cole Hamels there."

Cole's been called out for these sort of reactions in the past, but has been widely considered to have matured over the last two seasons. It's tough to know whether the play—which unfortunately, albeit correctly, was not ruled an error—had anything to do with the rest of his performance. He started out his typically dominant self, locating 18 of his first 20 pitches for strikes, but would grow increasingly unable to find the plate as time went on. Four walks in one game is certainly an anomaly for Cole, who entered the game third in the National League in fewest base on balls allowed per game.

Maybe it was the flubbed fly ball. Maybe it would have been a bad day anyway. Maybe he should have composed himself after the error that wasn't an error. Maybe he had every right to be upset. We'll let you decide for yourselves.

Whichever way you slice it, Cole cracked just the slightest smirk during a conversation with manager Charlie Manuel in the dugout moments after receiving the yank. Translation: Kid'll be fine, no one likes New York.

As for the rest of the Phils, there's not much to be said (solid analysis, great writing, you're welcome). Starter Jonathan Niese tapped into some of his past performances against the Phillies and stymied the lineup for the better part of seven innings. While he would give up two in the seventh thanks in part to a Robinson Tejada fielding error—the backup shortstop's second of the day—he was only charged for 1 earned on 6 hits versus 6 K's and just 1 walk in 7.0 pitched.

Not exactly what we were looking for, but, hey, it happens. The Atlanta Braves continue their series with the Washington Nationals from inside Turner Field at 7:10 this evening, while the Phillies look to take two of three from the Mets tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. As it stands, Kyle Kendrick is scheduled to take on Mike Pelfrey in the rubber match. Catch you then.

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

usa-brandon-bell-james-franklin.jpg
USA Today Images

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Jordan Matthews will not play Sunday against the Bengals after missing practice all week with an ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Matthews is the Eagles' leading receiver with 57 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns. The team has called him a game-time decision.

Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor will reportedly be inserted back into the lineup. If Matthews doesn't play the Eagles will have only four healthy receivers active on Sunday: Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and undrafted rookies Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.