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11/05/09 6:50 PM EST

Disappointment lingers a day later

Phillies left to ponder what went wrong while heading home

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies had hoped to be at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night for Game 7 of the World Series.

They instead found themselves on an afternoon train to Philadelphia.

The Phillies lost to the New York Yankees, 4-2, in the best-of-seven series, which ended their aspirations of becoming the first National League team since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds to win consecutive World Series.

"Are they better than we are? For this series they were," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "They've got the trophy. We don't. We gave it up, but we're going to get it back."

Several things went wrong for the Phillies in the World Series:

• Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels had his toughest season in the big leagues, and it carried into the postseason. He went 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA in 32 starts in the regular season, and 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts in the first two rounds. The Phillies gave him a 3-0 lead early in Game 3 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park, but after walking Mark Teixeira with one out in the fourth, he allowed a two-run home run to right field to Alex Rodriguez to make it 3-2.

Things fell apart quickly for Hamels in the fifth, as he allowed three runs to give the Yankees a 5-3 lead.

Hamels went 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four postseason starts, compared to 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts last year.

• Phillies closer Brad Lidge looked rejuvenated through the first two rounds of the playoffs after an incredibly difficult regular season. He was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and three saves in five appearances against the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers, and looked fantastic through three batters in the ninth inning in Game 4 of the World Series, too. But with the game tied, Johnny Damon worked a fantastic at-bat against Lidge to single to left.

Damon stole second and third on the same play because of a defensive shift on Teixeira, who Lidge later hit with a pitch to put runners on the corners. Rodriguez ripped a double to left field to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Jorge Posada then singled to score Teixeira and Rodriguez to make it 7-4. It was Lidge's only appearance of the World Series, as Manuel asked Ryan Madson to get the save in Game 5.

The Phillies' bullpen as a whole had a 5.74 ERA.

Swing and a miss
Most strikeouts by a hitter in a series in World Series history
Player Team Opp. Year PA K's
R. Howard PHI NYY 2009 25 13
W. Wilson KC PHI 1980 30 12
L. Gonzalez ARI NYY 2001 30 11
D. Miller ARI NYY 2001 23 11
D. Berryhill ATL TOR 1992 24 11
W. Garrett NYM OAK 1973 36 11
E. Mathews MIL NYY 1958 31 11
D. White FLA CLE 1997 36 10
V. Coleman STL MIN 1987 30 10
R. Gedman BOS NYM 1986 30 10
D. Crandall MIL NYY 1958 29 10
G. Kelly NYG WAS 1933 33 10

• Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard earned National League Championship Series MVP honors when he hit .333 with two home runs and eight RBIs in five games against the Dodgers. He had hit a combined .355 with two homers and 14 RBIs through the first two rounds, but found things much more difficult against the Yankees.

He hit just .174 with one homer and three RBIs, as he set a record with 13 strikeouts in a single World Series.

"I feel cool. I feel cool," Howard said about his performance. "I think the only thing you can do now is go home and relax and come back for Spring Training."

But the Phillies hit .250 with runners in scoring position against the Yankees, who countered with a .301 mark in the same situations. New York came up with the big hits. Philadelphia did not.

"Our hitting, we were inconsistent at times," Manuel said. "I look at our team, and I know we led the league in runs scored and home runs, but at the same time, we hit .258. I think we are better than that. I think we definitely can be more productive, and if we are, it's going to mean more wins for us. I think we can be better than we were this year."

• Right-hander Pedro Martinez pitched well against the Yankees in Game 2, but struggled in Game 6. He looked tired. He indicated afterward he might have been ill.

It certainly would have helped to have had designated hitter Hideki Matsui out of the lineup. And he would have been out of the lineup had Martinez pitched in Philadelphia, but the Phillies liked Martinez's experience in New York. Matsui went 4-for-4 with two home runs, five RBIs and a walk against Martinez.

Manuel had the chance to replace Martinez with left-hander J.A. Happ in the third inning on Wednesday. He stuck with Martinez, and Matsui hit a two-run single to center to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead.

"Pedro, he knows how to pitch," Manuel said. "He's got experience. I had to let him face that guy. We can go down 4-1 and we can definitely rebound there. But I had to let him -- it wasn't the time for me to take him out."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.