Cole Hamels’ Struggles Due to More Than Just Poor Run Support

As Matt Gelb astutely noted in his latest column following another Cole Hamels loss, this time at the hands of the offensively-impotent Washington Nationals, the Phillies have scored 20 runs in the 69 innings Hamels has pitched over a span of 11 starts. His run support ranks 99th out of 104 qualified starters according to ESPN. Now with a 1-8 record, the Phillies have lost each of Hamels’ last five starts, even though four of them were decent (yesterday’s start included).

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The Decline of the Phillies’ Running Game

At the pinnacle of their success in the 2007-11 era, the Phillies were one of the most formidable base-stealing teams around. With a fearsome foursome of Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth, the Phillies not only stole with frequency, but with efficiency as well. Much of that can be traced to former coach Davey Lopes, one of baseball’s foremost base-stealing threats in his playing years, and a base-stealing guru as a coach.

Per Baseball Prospectus, the Phillies led all of baseball in SBR (Stolen Base Runs) in 2007 (8.56) and 2008 (7.66), ranked third in 2009 (2.52), ninth in 2010 (1.00), eighth in 2011 (1.89), and ninth last year (2.47).

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