Cole Hamels “Embarrassed” By Tuesday’s Start
In a rain-soaked game between the New York Mets and the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night, an alien Cole Hamels showed up in the mound. Hamels had trouble finding the strike zone all game long, and he couldn’t make it through the fifth inning as a result. With 106 pitches, Hamels went 4 2/3 innings, allowed eight hits, walked five, and struck out three.
As CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported, Hamels told the media after the game that he was “truly embarrassed” by his pitching performance, adding that he didn’t give his team a chance to get in the game on balls put in play because he was constantly out of the strike zone. It was certainly unfamiliar territory for Hamels. In 246 career starts, Tuesday’s was just the fifth in which he issued five or more walks in five or fewer innings. The most recent came on July 27, 2012 at home against the Atlanta Braves.
It’s hard to fault him, given the conditions. The temperature sat in the low 40′s and it was rainy and windy. Of course, Hamels has been in those same conditions before and performed well — Game 5 of the 2008 World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays is one very memorable example. Hamels said that, at some point during his start against the Mets, he lost the feel for his pitches and struggled to get it back.
Hamels wasn’t to blame for everything, though. While Hamels was out of the strike zone frequently, when the Mets did get a pitch to hit, they weren’t putting good wood on the ball. The Mets’ eight hits were mostly bleeders up the middle and bloops into the shallow outfield. Here’s the hit charts from Tuesday:
One good note: Hamels induced swings and misses at the same rate last night that he did throughout all of 2013, 28 percent to 26 percent, respectively.
While the outing was uncharacteristic of Hamels, it’s not something that should be cause for concern in isolation, and it’s certainly not something he should be embarrassed about. The elements were unfavorable and sometimes pitchers have bad performances for no other reason than it was just not a good night. If Hamels struggles to find the strike zone over his next handful of starts, then the concern — and embarrassment — can start.