Thursday, October 02, 2008

One Down (Barely), Ten To Go

Well, how about that? The Phillies win their first play-off game in fifteen years. I can remember the last one- Game 5 in the 1993 World Series- where Curt Schilling threw like 150 pitches while dominating the Blue Jays offense.

Last night’s win was not so much joyful as a relief. C.C. Sabathia is on tap today- the Phillies are a ‘dog at home this evening- and for a potential Game 5. The Phillies really need to win games he doesn’t start.

Realistically, the Phillies probably have to beat this guy once to win this best of five. Hard to imagine them sweeping a pair in Milwaukee with Moyers and Blandon. It could happen- but doesn’t feel likely now the Brewers have righted their ship the past week or so.

Their best chance is probably with Cole Hamels in Game 5 of course. But these five game series get chancy in a hurry after your first loss. Ask the Brewers or Cubs, both of whom face a “need to have it” game today.

I am surprised there is little discussion about Hamels leaving yesterday’s game after eight brilliant innings. Obviously, the fact that Lidge managed to hang on helps. But I guess we all sort of get Hamels by now. He isn’t the sort of guy who is going to push himself, demand the manager pitch him on short rest or coax 120 pitches out of his arm in a huge spot.

You see Sabathia, pitching for a contract, hazarding his $150M future by throwing a zillion pitches repeatedly on short rest for a team that he has zero future with- and realize that Hamels will just never be that sort of guy.

That is not good or bad necessarily- Hamels has paced himself and let’s face it, maybe because he managed his workload smartly, he was able to chuck eight nifty innings last night. But, I think the Phillies’ fans and media realize Cole Hamels is like Cole Trickle- he is what he is- and your expectations need to be managed accordingly.

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