There's No 'Hollywood' Ending in Game 5
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 27 -- From the far reaches of Citizens Bank Park, fans extended their arms only as far as windbreakers would allow and encouraged Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels with calls of "Hollywood" -- a nickname bestowed upon the California native because he raises his game when the shine lights brightest.
But with Monday's lights clouded by conditions that caused a suspended World Series game, the script set for the Phillies ace to win his fifth game of the postseason and clinch the first championship for the franchise since 1980 quickly drowned.
"It's unfortunate -- it truly is," Hamels said. "I don't think I can really plan on the most perfect last outing that I could possibly have, but you know what? I'm going to have to give it to Mother Nature this time and go out there for the next year's World Series."
Hamels resisted the rain through six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts during the 2-2 game. He joked he could just pitch Tuesday, although Hamels threw 75 pitches. Whenever the game resumes, Hamels will almost certainly not finish his start.
"Naturally, we're not happy that Hamels is out of the game," Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick said. "But one of the strengths of our ballclub is the bullpen."
Gillick mentioned Tampa Bay must deal with the same situation -- although the Rays already had taken out starter Scott Kazmir. But Gillick's point was that Game 5 would be won or lost by relievers instead of the pair of promising southpaws.
Hamels took the mound without knowledge that the rain would intensify. He did not allow a hit through 2 2/3 innings, but the weather started wearing on him. In the sixth inning when a delay or suspension seemed all but inevitable, Hamels faced seven batters. In the previous five innings, the most batters Hamels faced were four.
"I didn't know what the forecast was, I didn't know if the rains were going to get worse," Hamels said. "As I was pitching, I did. That's just kind of the situation. You have to go with it and roll with it, and not let it get into your head."
Carlos Ruiz, Hamels's catcher, tried to ensure Hamels would not lose his command. Although the sixth inning included a passed ball, Ruiz said Hamels was losing his change-up -- the lefty's trademark pitcher. That forced Ruiz to alter how he called the game as the weather worsened.
"When you think about Cole, he's on the mound and he's got to throw the ball," Ruiz said. "It's hard to feel the ball. It was really hard for the pitching."
The hardest part for Hamels might be watching the Phillies try to rebound from this. The pitcher remained understanding after the game, noting that the team will now be a part of World Series trivia. Without Hamels, though, the Phillies must hope the answer does not turn cruel.