Last night's blown save du jour was courtesy of Ryan Madson, who wasted a superb performance by Cole Hamels. Hamels pitched 8 strong, shutout innings with 7 strikeout and only 2 walks (one of which was intentional), and had excellent command of a fastball that consistently reached 95 mph. With the Phils ahead 1-0 (thanks to a solo homer by Chase Utley in the first inning), Charlie Manuel brought in Madson to save it for Hamels, and Madson promptly gave up a pinch hit homer to tie the game.
Fortunately, Ryan Howard hit a three-run long tater in the top of the 1oth to win the game for Madson, but it meant that Hamels ended up with a n0-decision to show for that superb performance. "The Big Piece was right on time," declared Charlie Manuel, who recently revealed that he refers to Howard as The Big Piece. "He was running from behind, but caught up at the end. The Big Piece is all right, especially when he hits three-run bombs."
It was Madsen's 5th blown save of the season. "I think Madson can close," said Manuel. "I know he can close. It's kind of Lidge. Get in a groove and get going." In the meantime, Brett Myers had a strong outing in Reading last night, striking out five in two innings. He could be a real plus for the bullpen at just the right moment.
"I'm not really trying to force it," said Hamels. "The stuff that I've had, it's gotten me to the big leagues. It's gotten me to have success. Why do I have to try to be better or expect more out of myself when I was able to get the job done pretty well with the stuff that I normally have? I have the stuff to be here. I have the stuff to succeed. I have the stuff to succeed in the postseason. Why was I getting carried with trying to be somebody else I'm not. Even with the stuff I have, it's pretty good. I don't think Mark Buehrle went out and tried to be even better when he threw a perfect game. He just threw a game and it became a perfect game." Let's hope that this revelation means that the Cole Hamels we've come to expect is back, and just in time. A postseason rotation of Cliff Lee, an effective Cole Hamels, and either Joe Blanton or J. A. Happ will be tough to beat.
Let's hope that Hamels has turned the corner.