The stadium was nearly empty in the eighth inning. Drew Stubbs fouled one back into the stands as a Cleveland Indians fan promptly bobbled and dropped the foul ball. The Phillies fans seated in the area, the few that had stuck around, let him have it.
It was one of the few times they had a chance to cheer Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Then, Stubbs ripped a double — and, seemingly on cue, the next batter, Jason Kipnis, launched a three-run homer off Raul Valdes. The blast put the finishing touches on a 10-4 win for the Indians over the Phillies.
Cole Hamels (1-6) never got his groove back after throwing two scoreless frames to start the game. The ace lefty allowed five runs in five innings, often leaving hitter-friendly counts.
“You have to go out there and be able to execute pitches and I wasn’t doing that early on,” Hamels said. “Anytime you go 3-2 to the whole lineup over and over, you’re not going to put yourself in a good spot and I pitched myself into bad spots.”
Before the season, many had anointed Hamels as the new staff ace after he signed a lucrative, long-term contract. Through his first nine starts in 2013, he’s struggled with command and the results just haven’t been there. Hamels said he’ll continue to tweak his mechanics.
“In between every start, it’s just trying to get everything rock solid,” he said. “You constantly have to keep working at it. It’s something I’m not accustomed to, so I have to battle and try to find it again.”
Hamels isn’t injured, he’s just out of sorts. The pitcher is desperately trying to fix it.
“I hate losing so ultimately when you’re falling behind you’re putting yourself in a losing situation,” Hamels said. “That’s the part I want to change real fast because that’s not who I am, that’s not what I want people to expect, so it’s just trying to push that off as soon as possible.”