Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Perfect In The Clutch

Cole Hamels has history and experience on his side in Wednesday's NLCS game against the Dodgers. The Phillies, ahead 3 games to 1, will advance to the World Series with a win, and the team is historically perfect in such series-clinching situations.

The Phillies as a franchise are 6-0 in games in which they can possibly clinch the NLCS or World Series. Hamels is one of just four Phillies pitchers to start such a game. The others: Steve Carlton, Marty Bystrom, and Tommy Greene, with those last two names making for a great trivia question.

Bystrom was the first Phillies pitcher in team history to start a possible series-clincher, when he took the mound against Houston in Game 5 of the best-of-five 1980 NLCS. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowing 7 hits and 1 earned run. Dick Ruthven, a starter working in relief, got the win in the 10th inning.

Carlton twice won series clinchers, first taking Game 6 of the 1980 World Series against Kansas City, and then Game 4 of the best-of-five 1983 NLCS against the Dodgers. Greene won Game 6 of the 1993 NLCS by defeating the Braves with 7 innings of 5-hit ball.

Hamels, of course, started both deciding games for the Phillies in 2008, beating the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS. He got a no-decision against the Rays in rain-delayed Game 5 of the World Series, as J.C. Romero took the win.

In those six games, Greene is the only starter to allow more than 2 earned runs. Here's a list of all six.

1980 NLCS Bystrom 5.1 IP 7 H 1 ER no decision
1980 W.S. Carlton 7 IP 4 H 1 ER Win
1983 NLCS Carlton 6 IP 6 H 1 ER Win
1993 NLCS Greene 7 IP 5 H 3 ER Win
2008 NLCS Hamels 7 IP 5 H 1 ER Win
2008 W.S. Hamels 6 IP 5 H 2 ER no decision

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