The photo and the Jeltz award might make it look like this was Cole Hamels‘ fault, but that’s not the case. This 5-2 loss was a comprehensive team effort.
The Houston Astros, post all-star break, are quickly ascending to “hobgoblin” status, as the Phillies dropped their second consecutive game to a fetid assortment of castoffs, has-beens, and fringy prospects that seems to turn into the 1927 Yankees at the mention of the word “Philadelphia.”
A familiar face led the charge for the Astros, as former Phillie fan favorite J.A. Happ allowed one run over six innings in a belated attempt to reignite the debate on which skinny lefty should have been shipped out of town for pitching help after the 2009 season. Cole Hamels (who was awarded the Jeltz tonight for no other reason than he had the worst WPA; no one really showed up tonight) struggled with a creative strike zone from home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, allowing five runs in five innings. The hammer blow came on a three-run home run in the fourth by Astros shortstop and venison enthusiast Clint Barmes to make it 5-1.
The Phillies nearly got it all back in the top of the next inning, but Ryan Howard, with the bases loaded and two outs, flied out to the very edge of the left field wall, and Happ was never threatened again. Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz, who had a solo homer each, and David Herndon, who threw two perfect innings in relief of Hamels, were the only real bright spots.
Combined with the Cardinals’ 6-4 win at Pittsburgh, the Phillies will have to wait a little longer before clinching a playoff spot. Dating back to Sunday’s loss to Milwaukee, the Phillies have now lost three consecutive games for the first time since June.