Without saying a word, Cole Hamels spoke volumes Tuesday night on how he felt about being removed by manager Ryne Sandberg. After he allowed a tying home run to the Washington Nationals in the eighth inning, Hamels reacted with simmering anger when Sandberg came to fetch him. Hamels, who had thrown 84 pitches, churlishly flipped the ball to Sandberg without waiting for him to fully ascend the mound, as is the usual courtesy. Afterward, Hamels swiftly stalked away, stone-faced.
Carlos Ruiz drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth, and the Phillies won 4-3. In the grand scheme, the decision won't matter much to the Phillies, who are out of the pennant race. The bigger question is, can the "highest-paid" Philadelphia athlete in history coexist with the manager? Hamels had not cooled off much by the time reporters questioned him, either.
When asked about whether he was mad at himself for giving up the homer or with Sandberg for pulling him after 84 pitches, Hamels answered with a telling statement.
“Um, I just think it was a good game and we were able to win,” Hamels said.
When the question was re-asked for clarification 90 seconds later and a chance to take his manager off the hook, Hamels followed again.
“It was a good game that we won today,” Hamels repeated. “See you guys.”
This was the second time in less than two weeks that a Phillies pitcher made it obvious he wasn't happy with Sandberg. Kyle Kendrick has since apologized. Two other Phillies have made comments in the media about Sandberg's decision making. Sandberg says he hasn't spoken to Hamels yet, but tried to make it seem like what happened on the mound was no big deal to him.
Some in the Philly media already have told the players to "shut up and play," if not in so many words. And there's something to that sentiment. But considering this makes four players who have gone public, it's also possible the Phillies clubhouse has lost respect for Sandberg — which would be a huge problem.
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