Personal history and numbers don't always guide on-field performance, but they can give us a quick insight into who carries the advantage -- if ever so slight -- into a particular game. Tale O' Tape breaks down the starting pitchers to find an edge.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
We all thought coming into the series that the only way the Phillies could win was on the strength of Cole Hamels' arm. Well, tonight he gets the chance to make good on his enormous promise -- talent being the promise, he didn't actually promise wins -- and clinch the championship at home. Scott Kazmir is his counterpart tonight. Do the numbers illustrate or conflict with our initial thought that the Phils should end things tonight?Cole Hamels
Home Splits - Hamels was about equally effective at home this season as on the road. He sported a 2.99 ERA at home in the regular season with a 1.07 WHIP. His allowed OPS was .663, which is pretty solid considering the ballpark in which he pitches. For some reason, though, his record was only 7-7. I guess the guys didn't like swinging the bats for him this year at home.
In the postseason, Hamels has been on fire at home. He's 2-0 in two starts. In 15 innings, he's punched out 17 hitters, while walking only three. His ERA is 1.20 and the WHIP is sitting pretty at 0.65.
Relevant History - Last time out he somewhat stifled the Rays bats, setting the tone for the rest of the series. He worked seven strong innings, only allowing five hits and two runs.
So far this postseason, Hamels is 4-0 in four starts with a 1.55 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. He's struck out 27 batters in 29 innings, while only walking eight. Needless to say, we're watching a Josh Beckett-like transition.Scott Kazmir
Road Splits - Kaz isn't too comfortable away from home. His regular season ERA was 4.10 (compared to 2.90 at home). He allows a .780 OPS away from home, and that's higher than the league average.
Relevant History - His one saving grace here is that he's really tough on lefties (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley). Of course, Utley went yard off him in Game 1. Speaking of Game 1, Kazmir did have a decent outing last time out. He went six innings, allowing three earned runs. His problem were the ten base-runners and the home run to Utley. And that was at home, where he's a run-and-a-half per nine innings better. The way the Phillies are hitting right now, he'll have to elevate himself to new heights.The Edge
The edge is exactly where we suspected it was. The Phillies should win tonight and not have any more travel the rest of the year ... unless said travel is somewhere to celebrate their championship.
I understand the series isn't over, and that a Rays win would mean they have a real chance of taking three games in a row.
I just don't think it's in the cards. Phillies close it down tonight on the strength of Hamels' arm.
Tale O' Tape: Cole Hamels Presents a Tall Order for the Rays Tonight originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on 2008-10-27T13:00:00 00:00. Please see our terms for use of feeds.