“I can’t wait for it to end,” Cole Hamels said after the a Game 3 loss to the Yankees in the World Series. “It’s been mentally draining. At year’s end, you just can’t wait for a fresh start.” Those comments obviously were certainly pretty shocking, and they certainly didn’t endear Mr. Hamels with his teammates. In fact, Brett Myers, never one to avoid a melee (he was reportedly seen physically abusing his wife a few years back in Boston though charges were eventually dropped), confronted Hamels before Game 5 when an altercation ensued after Myers was heard to say “What are you doing here? I thought you quit.”
I thought these guys played for the City of Brotherly Love?
(A subsequent report says that the confrontation was “fake” and that the two hurlers remain close friends)
As a result, Hamels has lots of explaining to do (I just had an I Love Lucy flashback). He tried to start the process with the following statement. “Sometimes I might not say the best things or the smartest things, but I’ve learned and am learning. I wasn’t able to sleep the past couple of nights because of it.” Neither was I Cole, but it wasn’t because I sounded like a buffoon, it was because of this new pillow I got that seems to be just a tad too poffy to allow me to really get into the groove to get my sleep on. But I digress.
I don’t know what’s been going on in Hamels head, but clearly his performance this season has suffered – substantially. After winning 29 games the past two seasons with and ERA of 3.22, Hamels struggled along in the regular season to a 10-11 mark with a 4.32 ERA. Even worse than those regular season struggles though has been his continued misadventures in these playoffs. Hamels is 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA through four starts this post-season, this after a playoff run last season that saw him take home the NLCS (2-0, 1.93 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) and World Series (1-0, 2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) MVP awards.
Clearly Hamels hasn’t been at his best, and for a guy who has probably dominated nearly every batter he faced over the first 20 years of his life, one can imagine it has been rather difficult for him to find a way to deal with the struggles this year. Still, that’s no excuse for being an idiot when talking to the press. I’ve written it before, and here it is again; if you are a pro athlete never let your guard down, and do your best to give “yes” and “no” answers if at all possible. The more elucidation you offer, the more willing you are to simply “be real” with the press, the more likely you are to emerge looking like a moron. Keep your mouth shut and stick to doing what you do best – playing your sport.
WORLD SERIES NOTES
Chase Utley has tied Reggie Jackson’s record of five home runs in a single World Series.
A.J. Burnett’s failures in Game 2 (six earned runs in two innings), besides being his worst start as a Yankee, was also the first time that the Yankees’ starter hadn’t gone at least six innings in the playoffs. In five playoff appearances, Burnett is 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.
Ryan Howard has struck out 12 times in the Series to tie Willie Wilson’s mark from the 1980 Series.
Andy Pettitte will start Game 6 on short rest. In five previous post-season appearances on short rest Pettitte is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA. Overall in his playoff career Pettitte has made 39 starts going 17-9 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP over 243.1 innings.
Only six of the 43 teams that have been down three games to one in the Series have come back to win, the last being the 1985 KC Royals which I mentioned yesterday. The Phillies need two more wins to be the seventh.
By Ray Flowers