"Hamels, Lee, Then Turn and Flee" a New Take on Old Rhyme for Phillies Fans
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Like so many great lines, "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" is actually a misquote.
Millions of people misquote "Casablanca" every day when they say "play it again, Sam." Humphrey Bogart's character Rick Blaine never says those words, though he comes close.
Similarly, "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" is a convenient revision of Gerald V. Hern's poem.
Hern was writing about the dearth of reliable pitching options after Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain on the 1948 Boston Braves.
Now, 65 years later, the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies are putting a new spin on that old line.
As the season winds down, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee make two of every five days of Phillies baseball worth watching.
The other three days? We need a rainout.
Especially since August 16, 2013, also known as "Black Friday 2013" or "The Day Charlie Manuel Was Fired," Hamels and Lee are the lone bright spots on the dark death march the Phillies will remain on until the season mercifully ends in Atlanta.
Take a look at the team's game log via ESPN. Or, for a more explicit presentation, check out the game logs for Hamels and Lee. From August 17 forward, Hamels and Lee have started 11 games between them.
The Phillies are 10-1 in those games. They are 4-9 when Roy Halladay, Ethan Martin, Tyler Cloyd or Kyle Kendrick starts. Tossed in among the wreckage of those 13 games were Martin's exit after two outs and Cloyd making the inept San Diego Padres look like the 1927 Yankees.
Before you toss out the "small sample size!" cry, the season numbers bear this analysis out.
Hamels and Lee are on their way to posting elite seasons based on all those peripheral numbers that wins and losses cannot account for. In Hamels and Lee, the Phillies have two pitchers in the National League top 10 in Wins Above Replacement as per ESPN. They are both likely to top 200 strikeouts this season.
After those two, you have to scroll down the Phillies roster all the way to Kyle Kendrick with his 10-12 record, his earned run average closer to five than four and his six losses in seven decisions to find the Phillies' third-best starting pitcher.
That is not a drop-off, that is a free fall.
Enjoy Hamels and Lee now, because there will be no October baseball in Philadelphia in 2013.
Which means that either or both of them might look to be dealt in the offseason or, if the 2014 Phillies are flailing in July, next summer.
Until then, savor the spectacular quality Hamels and Lee bring to the mound when they pitch.
And feel free not to watch the Phillies when they don't.
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