Misery (Hates) Company: Shaky Run Support Not Just a Cole Hamels Problem

Misery (Hates) Company: Shaky Run Support Not Just a Cole Hamels Problem

This year, the Braves, one of the most potent offenses in all of baseball, are providing ace Kris Medlen with a Salvation Army-generous... 2.86 runs of support per game.

The Giants, meanwhile, have plated just above the major league average for runs scored, but for top starter Matt Cain, have only mustered 3.14 runs of support.

At 2.86 runs of support per game, Cole Hamels, again the victim in last night's 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, falls in between.

So no, he's not alone.

You can hypothesize the reasons. Maybe it's that offenses actively coast when top starters take the hill. Or maybe they're just spent from trying to get their teams through the back ends of their rotations.

Whatever the case, fact is, Hamels' plight isn't just his.

Sure it's been bad for him this year. Despite a 2.41 ERA in his last six starts, Hamels is 1-3 in them because he's gotten two runs of support or fewer in four. On the year, the team is just 1-7 when their $144 million man gets the ball.

But what about Medlen? He's punched a a 3.25 ERA, and yet he's only 1-4. Worse, the Braves, only a half game under the Cardinals for the best record in the league, are only 2-5 in his starts. And remember: Medlen didn't have any sweep-this-under-the-rug starts like Hamels did.

And before you say that Jeff Samardzija is 1-4 and the Cubs are 2-6 in his starts despite his 3.09 ERA because Chicago doesn't score or win for anybody, keep in mind that they do, in fact, score for Scott Feldman (3-3, 2.70 ERA) and Carlos Villanueva (1-2, 3.02 ERA), who've pulled 4.67 and 4.57 runs of support per nine -- more than anybody on the Phillies but Kyle Kendrick.

Speaking of: Kendrick so far has been a sweet surprise. But he's still been a surprise, right? (Right.) It stands to reason, then, that whether it's conscious or not, lineups bring their best stuff when they know they have to.

Look at the top 10: Jonathon Niese (NYM), Jon Garland (COL), Julio Teheran (ATL), Lance Lynn (STL), Yovani Gallardo (MIL), Juan Nicasio (COL), Adam Wainwright (STL), Tim Lincecum (SFG), Mike Leake (CIN), Patrick Corbin (think you're acquainted now).

With few exceptions, all are either back-end types (Gallardo, Nicasio, Leake), really young (Teheran, Corbin) or have no business being a 1 but were thrust there because the Mets are terrible.

Lincecum offers an interesting look, because he's a rare find: a once-at-the-top-of-his-game ace now reduced to so-called replacement level. His run support was decent in his back-to-back Cy Young years (4.57 in both). But with each passing year, during all of which he was still San Fran's opening day starter, his run support dwindled, all the way down to 2.81 in 2011.

Then, he unravels and gets relegated to the 'pen last year, and poof -- the run support returns.

Some guys have overcome it. Clayton Kershaw's only getting 2.38 RS/9, the fourth-worst in the league. But with the fourth-best ERA, he's 3-2 and Dodgers are at least 4-4 when he starts. Madison Bumgarner's 2.31 ERA has been enough to get him a 3-1 mark despite the sixth-fewest RS/9 in the NL.

Others just get it good. Wainwright, already the owner of a 2.72 ERA and the best K/BB ratio in baseball, gets 5.53 runs per game -- seventh-best in the NL. But Wainwright seems the exception.

For everyone dubbing Cole Hamels, "Cliff Lee 2.0," recall that Lee could be his own next generation. Lee this year is only getting 0.26 RS/9 more than Hamels, for the difference of 41 vs. T-47 on this list of 60.

Though at this rate, Phillies starters should be happy to get anything.

Instant Replay: Temple 86, Tulane 76 (2OT)

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USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Temple 86, Tulane 76 (2OT)

BOX SCORE

Temple snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday with an 86-76 double-overtime win over Tulane on Senior Day at the Liacouras Center.

Shizz Alston Jr. scored a putback layup with eight seconds left in regulation to even the Owls with the Green Wave at 65 and send the game to OT. In the first OT, Alston made two free throws with five seconds left to put Temple up, 71-68. But Tulane rolled the ball up the court and Malik Morgan made a deep three as time expired to send it to double OT.

The Owls (15-15, 6-11 AAC) scored seven quick points in just under two minutes in the second overtime that put them up 78-71, a lead Tulane (5-23, 2-14) could not recover from.

Turning point
The Owls jumped out to a 17-4 lead early in the first 4:25 of the game and had a 35-28 lead over Tulane at halftime. They looked to be in control for most of the game until the Green Wave outscored them, 19-11, to take a 47-46 lead with 11:31 left in the second half.

In the second OT, however, Temple outscored Tulane, 15-5, to seal the win.

Big men on campus
The Owls were led by by Alston's 25 points (10 for 10 at the free-throw line), eight rebounds and six assists. Senior Daniel Dingle had 13 points and eight rebounds. Mark Williams, another senior, had 20 points and six rebounds after fouling out in the second OT. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia added 14 points.

Tulane was led by junior Cameron Reynolds, who scored a team-high 21 points.

Inside the box score
• The Owls shared the ball well with 17 assists, compared to just eight by Tulane.

• Temple led for 42:23 of game time, with 13 being its largest lead in the first half.

History lesson
The Owls move on to 7-2 all-time against Tulane, winning six straight in the series.

Up next
Temple will end its season on the road at USF next Sunday afternoon.

Tulane will stay on the road and play at Memphis on Friday.

Ilya Bryzgalov warns Flyers fans to bring speedos to Heinz Field

Ilya Bryzgalov warns Flyers fans to bring speedos to Heinz Field

The last time the Flyers were in an outdoor game, Ilya Bryzgalov was drinking from a thermos on the bench while Sergei Bobrovsky started against the Rangers five years ago.

Fast forward to Saturday night. Bryzgalov is out of the NHL, Bobrovsky has himself in the conversation for his second Vezina Trophy in Columbus, and the Flyers face off against the  Penguins at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in a Stadium Series game … weather permitting.

The weather is expected to cooperate tonight, though. The forecast called for rain today and temperatures in the 50s, but it hasn't rained much. The temperature is expected to drop into the 40s and 30s, and may even hit a lot of 28, according to Weather.com.

Don't tell Bryzgalov that. "Bryz" took to Twitter to offer advice for Flyers and Penguins fans attending the Stadium Series match tonight.

You don't need no stinkin' thermos.

If you're not following Bryzgalov on Twitter, you should click that follow button now. He's always an entertaining follow.