Second-guessers, start your engines

Last night was not a good night to be a Fightin' Phil. It wasn't a good night to be a writer, either. It's never fun to completely re-write your game story in the bottom of the eighth inning. But as the kids say, it is what it is.

The No. 1 question this morning, of course, is why Charlie Manuel decided to pull Cole Hamels from the ball game after the bottom of the seventh inning. Hamels had retired six of his seven previous batters and and the last time he was pulled after the seventh with a slim lead, the Dodgers took advantage of the Phillies bullpen and pulled out a 4-3 win on Aug. 12.

But. . .

Hamels had thrown 108 pitches on a hot, sticky night in Wrigley Field. He'd thrown more than that on eight occasions this season, but Charlie Manuel said pitching coach Rich Dubee spoke with Hamels and got the impression that he didn't have much left.

"He was absolutely spent," Manuel told us afterward.

I didn't get a chance to talk to Hamels after the game. By the time I was done talking to Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin, Hamels was already gone. So it's unclear how he felt about the situation. It's been a frustrating season for him. This is the eighth time the Phillies have lost a start in which he allowed three or fewer runs.