Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Game for the Ages

Cole Hamels delivered more than just a dominating outing in the team’s 3-1 NLDS Game 1 victory. He pitched arguably the best game in the franchise’s 61-game postseason history.

His two hits allowed were the lowest in Phillies’ playoff history. Curt Schilling, Steve Carlton, Charles Hudson, and Jim Konstanty each allowed four hits in other standout gems, though each of them allowed at least one earned run (see chart below).

Hamels finished with nine strikeouts and only one walk in eight shutout innings, while throwing 101 pitches, 67 for strikes. He retired the first 14 hitters he faced, as well as the last eight, and only one runner reached second base in Hamels’ first postseason victory.

It’s easy to say that his numbers top any previous Phillies playoff performance. The question becomes, does hurling a standout game in the NLDS trump a top pitching effort in the rarefied air of a championship game or the World Series.

It’s hard to look past the two previous top playoff efforts: Steve Carlton’s 1980 Game 6 victory over the Royals and Curt Schilling’s 147-pitch complete game in the ’93 Game 5 win over Toronto. Carlton’s win gave the Phillies their only title, while Schilling’s win came after a bruising 15-14 Game 4 loss that depleted the Phillies bullpen. Incidentally, Schilling’s win was the Phillies’ last playoff win.

My pick: Carlton’s clincher, with Hamels a close second and Schilling third. But isn’t it nice to be mentioning Hamels at 24 alongside the two greatest big-game playoff pitchers in Phillies history?

Here is my ranking of the Phillies’ top 10 postseason pitching outings, with World Series games in bold; all others were in the NLCS or NLDS and all were victories, except Konstanty's Game 1 loss.

1980 Carlton: 7 IP 4 H 1 R 1 ER 3 BB 7 K 110 p (72 strikes)
2008 Hamels: 8 IP 2 H 0 R 0 ER 1 BB 9 K 101 p (67 strikes)
1993 Schilling: 9 IP 5 H 0 R 0 ER 3 BB 6 K 147 p (99 strikes)
1983 Denny: 7.2 IP 5 H 1 R 1 ER 0 BB 5 K 109 p (73 strikes)
1980 Carlton: 7 IP 7 H 1 R 1 ER 3 BB 3 K 105 p (66 strikes)
1950 Konstanty: 8 IP 4 H 1 R 1 ER 4 BB 0 K no pitch count
1983 Hudson: 9 IP 4 H 2 R 2 ER 2 BB 9 K 120 p (84 strikes)
1993 Schilling: 8 IP 4 H 2 R 1 ER 3 BB 9 K 131 p (79 strikes)
1915 Alexander: 9 IP 8 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 6 K no pitch count
1993 Jackson: 7.2 IP 9 H 1 R 1 ER 2 BB 6 K 112 p (70 strikes)

1 comment:

Gern said...

It's incredible to think about what this kid is going to do down the road. He just keeps getting better and better. Let's hope the Phils close the deal in Game 3, so Hamels can start things off against Ramirez and Co. in the NLCS.