Well, the Phillies made it much more interesting than they had to, thanks to Manuel’s decision to not let Hamels finish the game. He had a manageable pitch count and was pitching lights out, while Lidge has been struggling recently. As much as the team is going to need Lidge in the playoffs, this might have been a good game to let him rest while Hamels finished what he started. Hamels said the right things after the game, but I’m sure he would like to have pitched the complete game. On the other hand, I can see the argument for not overworking your ace in the first game of the playoffs, and that is what Lidge gets paid for. In the end, after a few frayed nerves, it worked out, so no worries. Let’s just hope Lidge’s high pitch count yesterday won’t have an impact on the rest of the series.
Anyway, what can you say about Hamels? He’s a bonafide stud that would have been a 20-game-winning Cy Young contender if the Phillies had given him any run support this year. He didn’t get much support again in this game, but this time it didn’t matter; nobody was scoring on him. We haven’t seen a playoff pitching performance in this town like that since Curt Schilling in ’93 (not that there have been many playoff games in the years since). The offense needs to pick it up, though, if the Phillies are going to advance. One error-filled inning of scoring isn’t going to cut it on most days. Today will be tough with Sabathia, but hopefully the Phils can make it a short series so we only have to see him once. And let’s hope the right Brett Myers shows up today.