Phils can't back hard-luck loser Hamels
Lefty throws complete game, collects team's only base hit
NEW YORK -- If Cole Hamels is close to taking a bat and working out some frustrations on some equipment in the Phillies' clubhouse, he sure isn't showing it.
But his frustrations would be understandable. He continues to pitch incredibly well, and the Phillies continue to offer him no help.
"He's got the unlucky card at the moment," Phillies catcher Brian Schneider said Friday after a 1-0 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field, which dropped the Phillies three games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.
"I feel bad for the guy," Shane Victorino said.
The Phillies feel bad for Hamels, who allowed just five hits and one run and struck out eight in eight innings, for a few reasons:
Hamels is 1-2 with a 1.81 ERA in his last seven starts. He has allowed one or fewer runs in five of those starts.
He is 5-7 with a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts since April.
Hamels has lost consecutive starts by a 1-0 score.
Hamels ranked 92nd out of 104 qualifying pitchers in baseball this season in run support before Friday night. He had averaged just 3.51 runs of support per nine innings.
"I can't do anything else," Hamels said. "I'm going to try to go out there and pitch to every hitter the best I possibly can and try to go as deep as I possibly can -- and minimize the damage. That's what I was able to do today."
Hamels had a runner on third with one out in the first, but the runner did not score.
It was a close call, but he had closer ones.
Mets third baseman David Wright ripped a line drive off the inside part of Hamels' right thigh in the fourth inning. Hamels smiled as pitching coach Rich Dubee and assistant athletic trainer Mark Andersen met him on the mound to make sure he was OK. After throwing a couple warmup pitches, he remained in the game.
Mets first baseman Mike Hessman appeared to hit a leadoff home run to left field in the fifth inning, but a fan clearly interfered with the ball. Raul Ibanez immediately waved toward the umpiring crew indicating the fan had touched the ball, but third-base umpire Lance Barksdale ruled it a home run. After a six-minute, 35-second review, umpires told Hessman to return to third base. Hamels stranded Hessman on third.
It was an impressive way to finish an inning after such a lengthy delay and with a man on third and nobody out.
"He's throwing a cutter, man, and it's good," Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "It's keeping us off-balance a little bit and making us change some stuff up, and his velocity is back up, too. You can tell he's back to being who he is, and it's impressive."
He had to be good. Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had a no-hitter going until Hamels hit a flare into right field with one out in the sixth inning.
It would be the Phillies' only hit of the night.
SABR's Trent McCotter found the last pitcher to save his team from a no-hitter was Colorado's Jason Jennings, who singled in the third inning against Atlanta's Tim Hudson on May 1, 2006, at Turner Field. No pitcher had saved his team from a no-hitter with a hit as late in the game as Hamels since Colorado's Chin-hui Tsao doubled with two outs in the sixth inning against the Mets' Steve Trachsel on Aug. 18, 2003, at Shea Stadium.
Hamels allowed the game's only run in the sixth inning when he gave up back-to-back doubles with two outs to Wright and Carlos Beltran. Wright hit a line drive to center field that went over Victorino's head. Victorino made no excuses.
"I didn't lose it in the lights," he said. "It just beat me. It went over my head."
Line drives to center field can be tricky, but Victorino said he got the break he wanted. But when he ran to the spot he thought the ball would be, he said the ball knuckled away from him.
The rest of the Phillies had no luck offensively. They hit a couple balls hard early, but nothing late as they watched Hamels drop to 7-9.
"My ERA is going down," Hamels chuckled. "I'm trying to look at the positives. Last year my ERA was going up."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.