Imagine you asked your high school crush out for the senior prom. You presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. You practiced your mambo dancesteps, perfected your white-man's overbite. You held the door open for her, recited William Blake's most romantic poems, put together the the perfect mix tape (that what we had in high school, pre-iPod days) for the drive back to her home.
And just after you calmly put your hand over her shoulder, ever so smoothly move in for a kiss...BAM! Some other schmo opens her car door, pulls her out of the car, and sweeps your teenage dream off her feet and into his arms.
No complete glory for Cole Hamels. Cole pitched like the staff ace, a potential Cy Young winner. He was sending Brewers hitters down faster than financial stocks stuck with sub-prime exposure.
He was masterful.
But Cole didn't have the chance to finish the masterpiece. It would be like askng Michaelangelo to hand over the paint brush for some touch-up work. Or asking your local cover band to perform after U2 got the crowd rocking for two straight hours.
Granted, Brad Lidge has been perfect all year. His ERA in save situations is microscopic. And good ol' Charlie Manuel has to feel pretty good handing the ball over to Lidge with a three-run lead.
But this this was Hamels game. He struck out nine, including four in the 7th and 8th inning. He threw five pitches in the 7th, eleven in the 8th. He threw 101 pitches, not a particularly high pitch count for the magnitude of the occasion.
Now I know naysayers are going to factor Hamels career-high innings as a factor, that he is the future of the organization and certified ace (sorry, Jamie Moyer), that Lidge has been perfect.
But Lidge's last four appearances have resulted in 24 pitches or more, high for a closer. He hasn't been a model of pitch efficiency over the last month. The Brew few only needed a bloop to tie and before the throng in South Philly would have hissed Lidge off the field and put them in a tie game.
And the home nine were exactly putting crooked numbers up against an inferior Brewers bullpen.
If Hamels pitches another masterpiece in a potential Game 5, I hope he is given the chance to finish.
So who are the Rolling Stones opening up for this month?
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