Hamels' daytime frustrations were extended Thursday afternoon, when he made one costly mistake to Yorvit Torrealba and created an early deficit that the Phillies weren't able to overcome in a 5-4 loss that evened their National League Division Series against the Rockies at one game apiece.
"Whether it's a day game or a night game, whenever you make good pitches, you're going to have success," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said.
It could certainly be argued that Hamels was effective throughout a majority of this 83-pitch outing, during which he surrendered four earned runs on seven hits and exited after five innings. The Rockies scored a first-inning run while depositing just one pitch out of the infield.
But the misplaced curveball that Torrealba drilled into the left-field seats for a two-run homer in the fourth inning certainly set the Phillies left-hander up to be questioned about why he once again was unable to show dominance in a day game.
Because his wife went into labor in preparation of giving birth to the couple's first child, Hamels wasn't around to talk about his day-night splits or the possibility that he was mentally affected by what was going on away from Citizens Bank Park.
"That could have had something to do with it," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who confirmed that Hamels was already out of the game when he learned that his wife had gone into labor.
LIKE NIGHT AND DAY
In his nine regular-season afternoon starts this year, Hamels went 0-6 with 5.44 ERA and allowed opponents to hit .326 against him. During his 23 night starts, he was 10-5 with a 3.95 ERA and opponents hit just .255 against him.
"I think it's just a coincidence," Phillies reliever Brad Lidge said. "For whatever reason, it just hasn't been working as well as it does for him in night games. When he's right, it really doesn't matter if it's 5 in the morning, he'll school some people."
When Hamels experienced some elbow soreness in Spring Training and then surrendered seven runs in just 3 2/3 innings during his season debut against the Rockies, there were early indications that Hamels wasn't as right as he was last year, when he dominated the postseason and was named World Series MVP.
Heading into this season, Hamels was 10-7 with a 4.42 ERA in 28 career afternoon starts and 28-16 with a 3.00 ERA in 56 night starts.
"I really didn't even know that he has had problems in day games," Phils second baseman Chase Utley said, while echoing a response also provided by right-handed pitcher Brett Myers and veteran outfielder Raul Ibanez.
|Gm. 1||PHI 5, COL 1||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||COL 5, PHI 4||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||PHI 6, COL 5||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 4||PHI 5, COL 4||Wrap||Video|
Maybe these Phillies players were choosing to remember that Hamels had tossed eight shutout innings against the Brewers during an afternoon game to open last year's postseason and then returned later in the month to clinch the NL Championship Series by limiting the Dodgers to one run over seven innings under Los Angeles' late-afternoon sun.
Or maybe this truly is the time to simply focus on what has occurred during the postseason.
In his four career postseason starts that have occurred during the afternoon hours, Hamels has gone 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA. In his other three playoff starts, he has gone 2-0 with an identical 2.70 ERA.
"Stats are kind of funny that way," Lidge said. "Sometimes, it's just coincidence."