After a 72-hour cool down period, the pain has finally subsided from Thursday’s 5-4 loss against the Colorado Rockies in game 2 of the NLDS.
But, before game 3 starts on a chilly sunday night at Coors Field, here is my chance to dwell on the past and talk about the impact of Thursday’s loss for the Phillies.
: No way Cole Hamels should have started that game. Family is something that should be put above baseball in my opinion, and with Hamels’s wife Heidi on the verge of giving birth the the couple’s first child, it’s clear that Cole’s mind was not completely fixed on the game at stake at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday. While Hamels was not in his 2008 World Series MVP form for the obvious reason, his performance kept the Phillies in the game when the bats struggled in the first four innings against Aaron Cook. That’s not that point. In my opinion, Charlie Manuel should have made the decision that starting J.A Happ (who shutout the Rockies earlier this summer at Citizens Bank Park) or Joe Blanton was a better option than a less-than-motivated Cole Hamels.
: The double-switch in the fifth inning was too early for me. Pedro Feliz is one of the best hitters in the Phillies lineup when runners are on base, and taking him out down four runs for a weak-hitting Miguel Cairo couldn’t have helped a lineup that looked perplexed by Rockies starter Aaron Cook.
:I question if bringing in Joe Blanton and J.A Happ consecutively in the fifth and sixth inning actually helped the Phillies chances in winning. In that situation, was Joe Blanton really a better choice than Kyle Kendrick and Chad Durbin, guys who have had experience in long relief pitching situations? While Happ had the bullpen experience, why not Scott Eyre in that situation? I understand Happ and Blanton have been the two most consistent pitchers on the Phillies roster this season, but that doesn’t mean they are the right candidates for a situational reliever.
: Lastly, my jaw personally dropped when Cliff Lee came in the game to pinch run in the 9th inning. Wow! With one out (which was the situation Lee came into the game in), do you really want your ace pitcher who just pitched a gem in game one sliding into second trying to break up a potential game-ending double-play. I think not.
: Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard are all swinging a hot bat. When Charlie Manuel sees that his 4,5, and 6 hitters all seeing the ball well stepping into two games at Coors Field, he has to feel confident that the Phillies will at least send the series back to Philadelphia for a game 5 when all is said and done in Colorado.
: The snow-out favors the Phillies, clearly. It gives another day for J.A Happ to heal, and Cliff Lee to undergo his normal rest routine. Now, instead of facing Pedro Martinez and J.A Happ, Colorado now has to face Happ in game 3 and Cliff Lee in game 4, two pitchers who have dominated the Rockies at some point this season.