Not hitting is a little easier to take if the team is winning. During the Phillies four game losing streak they have not hit the ball very hard and the very definition of a “losing streak” entails not winning baseball games. Tonight versus the Colorado Rockies, the Phillies continued to come up small at the plate.
Luckily, Cole Hamels used his aceitude to shut down the Colorado line-up. Cole went eight innings, gave up one run, struck out eight, walked one and surrendered five hits to grind the string of losses to a halt.
Surprisingly, Wilson Valdez was the offensive star for the Phllies. He went 2-3 with an RBI shocking every single fan watching the game tonight. Jorge De La Rosa handled the rest of the Phillies hitters allowing only three hits to people not named Valdez. De La Rosa fired a complete game in the loss, but was undone by a wild pitch and a passed ball. After allowing a Raul Ibanez single and plunking Carlos Ruiz with a 1-2 curveball, Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta missed a catchable pitch moving the runners up a base. Valdez followed with a single to left.
The Rockies tied the game on doubles from Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton in the top of the seventh inning. It has been so demoralizing when a team actually gets to one of the pitchers because runs have been so difficult to come by. With the score tied, the Phils looked destined to waste yet another great start from a pitcher.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Wilson Valdez came through again. He singled to start the inning, was moved to second by a Shane Victorino sacrifice bunt and moved to third on the aforementioned wild pitch from Jorge De La Rosa. Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate charged with putting the ball in play to score the run from third. Jimmy responded by hitting a fly ball to right just deep enough to score Valdez. Hamels became the pitcher of record with the score 2-1 Phils.
The people that the Phillies have run out to close games in the ninth inning have been fantastic. Gone are the naysayers that bemoan Ryan Madson’s ability to pitch in the ninth inning. Madson was called upon to make the 2-1 lead hold up and save the victory for Hamels. He allowed a lead off double to pinch hitter Seth Smith. Madson proceeded to strike out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitski, leaving Smith stuck at second. Todd Helton has been fantastic against Madson in his career hitting at a .500 clip versus the Phils right hander. Madson didn’t give Helton anything to hit and walked him on four pitches. Madson struck out Jason Giambi to strike out the side and prove that he is absolutely a bad ass.
See, doesn’t it feel better when the Phillies actually win a game? They may have only managed five hits off of a pitcher that they normally demolish and their top offensive threat was their number eight hitter, but at least they managed not to ruin a another great pitching performance. Hopefully reinforcements are on the way. Chase Utley is now playing nine innings at a time and Domonic Brown won a game for the AAA Iron Pigs today. Even Jose Contreras is throwing baseballs at minor leaguers now.
Joe Blanton goes tomorrow against Jhoulys Chacin. That is a difficult name to spell.