What's eating Cole Hamels?

Cole Hamels has struggled in recent starts and is showing signs of frustration. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

MINNEAPOLIS — The Phillies could celebrate victory Wednesday, that is, all of the Phillies except Cole Hamels.

"I definitely won't enjoy the moment," Hamels said. "Maybe that's being selfish, but it's hard to when you're still in last place and you don't put good starts together. That's quite a few in a row. They're not good moments."

Hamels has a 6.08 ERA in his last four starts and he has failed to complete seven innings in each of his last three outings. He pitched to three batters in the seventh of Wednesday's 9-8 win over Minnesota before Charlie Manuel came with the hook.

He wasn't exactly cruising until then. He had allowed four runs in six innings. It was masked only because of another offensive outburst.

Phillies starters have a 5.97 ERA in 15 games since Roy Halladay's injury on May 27.

Hamels said he simply cannot repeat his delivery and that makes for inconsistent pitch location. He does not believe it's a product of poor mechanics because of the sporadic nature.

"I feel like it comes and goes," Hamels said. "I feel like I have innings where things are working well and I'm hitting my spots. Then all of a sudden, I can't hit a spot to save my life. Sometimes, you can get away with it unscathed. Unfortunately, I'm not getting with it at all and it definitely hurts."

The numbers suggest Hamels is having trouble finding his ultra-effective change-up. He's used it less frequently in his last four starts than he did in his first nine outings. He has relied more on his fastball. It could also be the result of a small sample size.

The lefthander said he could not pinpoint any specific problem. He put the burden of a scuffling staff on his shoulders.

"It's not the right time to have poor starts when the team isn't doing that well," Hamels said. "We can't afford that."

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