Aug 12, 2011, 10:55 PM EDT
Right from the start Cole Hamels didn’t look sharp in the Phillies 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Friday night. Cole worked his way out of an early jam in the first inning, but he wasn’t as successful in the second when a Wilson Ramos single and a Laynce Nix walk put men on for heavy hitting Livan Hernandez. The Nationals pitcher singled in Ramos — one of two hits and two RBIs on the night for the big man. The Nats added on to their early lead when Rick Ankiel hit an RBI single up the middle to put them up 2-0 later in the second.
Hamels would only allow one other run, but both his control and velocity were off the entire evening and he was pulled after five innings.
“He was stiff. Looked like he was having a hard time getting loose. Wasn’t one of his better games, but he battled in there. He got out of a jam that could have opened the game up for us. He kept it to 3-1,” Charlie Manuel said after the game. “We didn’t muster enough offense. It wasn’t a good night for us.”
When asked if he was concerned about his young ace, Manuel said that he was, but Cole didn’t seem to be as worried. Putting his poor night on the long grind of a baseball season.
“Just kind of that part of the year. Just kinda something where you fatigue a little bit and you have to battle through it. You move on to the next game. I’ve got a couple days, just gonna work out and get ready for the next start,” Hamels said after the game.
“When you’re not able to loosen up and get things going, it makes it a little tougher.”
When asked if it was similar to a dead arm type thing, Hamels said it may be and reiterated it’s just that time of the year in a long season.
“Once I start getting that jump, I think everything will smooth out,” Hamels added.
Kyle Kendrick pitched decent enough in relief, allowing only one run in four innings of work, keeping the Phils within striking distance. But Livan, Livan likes his money. He makes a lot they say. And he scattered 4 hits over 6.1 IP and kept the Phillies in check all night with his incredibly slow stuff. It was a Moyerean night.
The first run the Phillies scrounged together was in the second inning when Wilson Valdez singled in Ryan Howard. The Big Piece didn’t hit any bombs, but he was eating shift all night, beating the Nats’ quirky alignment for two clean hits and a third would-be hit that was ruled an error.
Unfortunately, it was his final at-bat that was the most painful. With runners on the corners and no outs in the bottom of the night, he went down swinging on a Drew Soren hook that Howard missed by a mile.
Hunter Pence made the second out of the ninth, on a sac-fly to right that scored Victorino from third to make it 4-2. Raul Ibanez promptly popped the first pitch up to second base and that was the ball game.
Citizens Bank Park was buzzing for John Kruk’s Phillies Wall of Fame induction prior to the game, but the rest of the night, save a modicum of hope in the ninth, was a snoozer.
With the win, Washington inches to within 20 games of first place.
You hate to come home after a ridiculously great road trip and start off with a loss, but I think they’ll be just fine. Roy Oswalt throws tomorrow night.
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