Hamels Turns A Corner?

hamels 0826.jpgWe will know for sure in a couple weeks if tonight was just a one shot thing or the beginning of something good for Cole Hamels.

But he certainly looked good tonight at PNC Park.

He threw eight shutout innings. His fastball had a lot of life on it. He dominated, which is what people have come to expect from him.

“I’m not really trying to force it,” he said. “The stuff that I’ve had, it’s gotten me to the big leagues. It’s gotten me to have success. Why do I have to try to be better or expect more out of myself when I was able to get the job done pretty well with the stuff that I normally have?

“I have the stuff to be here,” Hamels said. “I have the stuff to succeed. I have the stuff to succeed in the postseason. Why was I getting carried away trying to be somebody else I’m not? Even with the stuff I have, it’s pretty good. I don’t think Mark Buehrle went out and tried to be even better when he threw a perfect game. He just threw a game and it became a perfect game.”

It goes without saying how much better this team looks with Hamels throwing well alongside Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ.

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Of course, there is the matter of the ninth inning. Brad Lidge has blown a Major League-leading nine saves this season. Madson has blown five, including one last night. He was pitching for Lidge, who had pitched in four consecutive games.

Madson officially served as the team’s closer June 7-25, when Lidge spent time on the disabled list with an injured right knee. (Madson also picked up saves in Lidge’s absence April 27 and June 2.) He went 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA and two saves in four opportunities in nine appearances. In nine innings, he allowed 11 hits, five runs, five earned runs, four walks and three home runs and struck out 10. In his other 54 appearances before Wednesday, he went 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA. In 52 innings, he had allowed 42 hits, 16 runs, 15 earned runs, 15 walks and two home runs and had struck out 52.

“I think Madson can close,” Manuel said. “I know he can close. It’s kind of Lidge. Get in a groove and get going.”

But it certainly is worth noting that Brett Myers struck out five in two innings tonight for Double A Reading. It looks like Myers is motivated. Like I said yesterday, I think Myers will have to pitch really well to convince the Phillies to make a move in the closer’s role, if Lidge continues to struggle. We’ll see.

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Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer in the 10th to win it. Howard is hitting .333 (23-for-69) with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in last 17 games.

“The Big Piece was right on time,” Manuel said, referring to Howard. “He was running from behind, but caught up at the end. The Big Piece is all right, especially when he hits three-run bombs.”

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26 Comments

Howard is the man. This is why you put up with the strikeouts. Not many people can carry a team for a month at a time, but he can. Those 3-run bombs are like daggers to the opposing team. Earl Weaver would have loved the guy. That being said, I don’t think that “The Big Piece” is going to stick as a nickname. It just doesn’t have a ring to it, and it can be manipulated by opposing fans (i.e. The Big Piece of #^&%$!).

fink: I think the Phillies phans would corupt that name before other team’s fans had a chance to…

Well, two things are now clear: 1) We dont have a closer hiding on the roster somewhere waiting to be released. It’s either Lidge or Myers when he comes back. I guess we have to score more runs BEFORE the 9th. 2) Hamel’s issues all season were mental. As he is quoted above, “Why was I getting carried away trying to be somebody else I’m not?” Notice he didn’t say,: why would I want, but why was I.” He’s been trying too hard this year to be what he envisioned an Ace is instead of just being who he is, an ace in the making. Hopefully he’s straightened himself out just as we enter the stretch.

     How does this prove that Hamels’ issues were mental? If all of you guys were half the psychologists you thought you were you could be out making millions instead of posting here. I posted about a billion times about what some of Hamels issues appeared to be (BABIP, strand rate, HR/FB rate all being way out of sorts) and everyone said I was just a dumb number cruncher, than he has a game where those effects normalize and wowee zowee look at that he has a good start.
     But no, let’s try to get in his head based on a quote, because that is an argument we don’t have to substantiate with, you know, facts.

Phylan: the numbers and stats you quote are teh symtoms, not not cause. He had numbers out of sort due to his mental make-up. Why do I say this? based upon what he said above, “Why was I getting carried away trying to be somebody else I’m not?” This shows that he was trying to be what he thinks an ACE should be (whatever that is) as apposed to what Cole hamels is; a 25 year old very good pitcher with all kinds of potential to be one of the best pitchers for years to come. all he needs to do is have confidence in who he is, and how he pitches, without worrying about how he thinks he should pitch and who he thinks he should be.

Simple, really

You’re reading much too far into a quote that was in response to a question asked of him either by Todd or another reporter. You’re also assigning it a meaning that you have no evidence for; “trying to be somebody else I’m not” could have referred to throwing different ratios of his pitches, or any number of other things. Not to be crude, but for the sake of summary, you’re making s**t up.

For the sake of moving on, let’s agree that whatever reason he wan’t himself this year, if he pulls it toether starting last night it will be a huge help as we enter teh playoffs.

The last thing we need to do as Phillies fans is say that Cole Hamels is back, we’ve seen some good games from him this season and those havn’t meant anything, if he keeps this up into the postseason, then i’ll admit he’s back and put my faith back in him

http://thepitchersduel.mlblogs.com/

Not sure how the Hamels portion of Todd’s article is getting the most response (aside from reaction to odd comments). The main concern we should all be having is our bullpen’s severe inability to close out games. Lidge isn’t getting it done, Madson is flaky and Manuel doesn’t want to make any changes. Obviously they need to get into a “groove” and his (our) hope is that this happens before October. My concern is: what if Lidge doesn’t have the sense to step aside on his own if he can’t get the job done? I don’t care who closes, it can be a committee for all I care. I just want games closed.

In Todd’s article on this subject, Malholm was quoted as saying, “He went from throwing 91 to 95 [mph].” That difference is significant. It makes me think of when Tiger Woods changed his swing after he had a successful season. He stuglled for a while until everything started to click into place. He went on the “Tiger Slam” after that. Maybe Cole had to reach a comfort zone for the difference in speed of his fastball. Maybe it has taken him all season to get to this point of almost flawlessly locating this 95 mph pitch. If it’s true, we could see a better Cole Hamels than we saw last year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Yeah pitchersduel, the last thing Phillies fans need is to have confidence in Cole. Geez. By the time he proves himself to you the season will be over.
Based on the quote, I’d say Cole wishes he was Mark Buehrle, but whom does Mark Buehrle wish he is? Next on the Amateur Baseball Psych Network.

muleman, Hamels had never said, “… I felt like it finally clicked” before yesterday. So either he’s a liar, a delusional optimist, or he’s telling the truth. I’m going to take him at his word, since he told us that he would always be truthful to the Phils and their fans when he signed that contract last winter. If you think he should shut-up until he throws a few gems or, at least, beats a good team, then I’d have to disagree with you.

erichh1: Actually, I was being critical of pitchersduel’s comment and mocking the amateur psychologists earlier. I don’t particularly care to dissect any quotes. I don’t know how you misinterpreted my comment, but it was meant as sarcastic humor.

I tend to believe that Mark Buehrle wishes he was Cole hamels with one WS ring already and on his way to number two. That ring beats a perfect game any day. Just ask any of the guys who have pitched one but never won the WS.

I agree Pherris and it’s what I was trying to convey to Phan earlier (though not as well as you did it).

Interestingly enough, in the early-mid ’70s Bowa batted 2nd. he was dropped to 8th later in the 70s and through the remainder of his time in Phila. I wonder if this had anything to do with anything

I was never a fan of Larry Bowa in the sense that I did not like his demeanor. But years ago he was being interviewed and he was asked to what did he attribute his offense improvement over the course of his career up until that time. He responded that he stayed within himself. It was obvious from the remainder of the interview that he meant he had to be a singles hitter for lack of ability to do anything else. Once he realized this, his average went up, he was on base more often, the Phillies did better and he would get more than a single more often than if he had attempted to do so. In other words good things flowed if he did what he could do best. It sounds as if Hamels may have arrives at this point. Let’s hope so.

fij………….Buehrle already has a world series ring from the 2005 White Sox. But yes, he probably would trade places with Hamels based on chances to get back.

Comcast Sports recently asked in one of its inane polls who among Phillies would wind up with more career homeruns. Selections included among others Ryan Howard and Mike Schmidt as was to be expected but thought to myself that it was a no brainer considering Schmidt was several years younger than Howard when he broke in. As it turns out, Schmidt was only two years younger than Howard, 22 versus 24. But Howard is so superior offensively as compared to Schmidt that it will take Howard only 6 years to put up the numbers it took Schmidt seven to seven and a half years to compile. The only number Howard may not match Schmidt through 6 years is runs scored. But one of the most surprising is batting average. Through 6 years Schmidt hit .256. Howard up to this point is hitting .277.

Schmidt only had one season where he hit above .300. He ws mostly in the .270-.280 range. BTW: Howard was 25 the year he really broke in playing 88 games in 2025-and winning ROY. He turned 26 that Nov.

Phylan, if you don’t think Cole Hamels was letting stuff get in his head this year then you are not paying attention. His body language on the mound told it all.
I don’t think there is any question that Cole is a bit of a head-job. The less he thnks out there, the better off he is. If he just trusts his stuff, he’ll be fine.

fij………………Please do not add extraneous details to the point I was trying to make that is how superior Howard’s career is as compared to Schmidt’s at the six year mark. Schmidt was .267 career hitter by the way. As indicated above, Howard is a .277 career hitter thus far.

muleman, sorry…. I was thinking about pitcherduel’s comment and your response to it and my boss came by. When I started the post, I responded to you instead. Alas! there are dangers and consequences to posting during working hours….

pherrisphain, you had some great points about Bowa and Schmidty. It does give us a different perspective on what Ryan has actually achieved. Nevertheless, there are those who will just say, “Yeah, but Mike Schmidt never struck out so many times.” Some people are hard to please….

In the 8 games that Hamels has lost , the team had ONLY scored 16 runs for him. So while Cole is giving up a few too many runs, the team is partially responsible for his lousy record also. A 4 plus era can often times be the product of just a few BAD starts and nothing more. Yes, the guy has some overthinking type issues but he also has an EXELLENT wlk to K Ratio. My point, he is not pitching as poorly as his record , his ERA or his DNL/WIP type over- reactionaries would have you believe. He’ll likely be fine, just like he pitched last evening.

     Damnit dolfanman where have you been to back me up all of this time. . .
     Anyhow, I still think Madson can get the closing job done. He’s mucked it up 5 or 6 times, but most of those were during the June swoon, and he’s pitching much better now. I mean, we gave Lidge 382234823741 chances, and he’s screwed up almost all of them. Madson’s the best reliever with the best stuff in the pen right now, there’s no reason to think he isn’t the best suited.

I suppose if Ryan Franklin can be one of the best closers in baseball, Madson can too, since the Phils chose to keep him. But then who will be the set-up guy? Then who takes that pitcher’s place in the hierarchy of the pen? I’m not saying that the whole pen will collapse like a house of cards, but I do think it’s easier to fix one problem than to fix one problem and create another one and another one and another one. Relief pitchers are specialists, performing a specific role out of the pen. When a manager finds the best “role” for each reliever, that’s when a pen can be dominating- when everyone knows their job and they do it well. I think that’s why Charlie is hoping for and betting on Lidge’s return to his ’08 form, because everyone else in the pen has been doing their jobs well.

That’s true, but I never put a whole lot of stock in the whole “roles” thing, personally. It just makes sense to use the best relievers in the highest leverage situations, rather than worrying if it’s time to close or time to set-up or what have you. I’d like them to be as flexible with Madson as they’ve been with Chan Ho Park, for example. When Myers comes back, I’d say (hope) they have enough reliable relievers to use in the situations where effective pitching is called for day-to-day, I just worry that Charlie will stick to these “roles” even if it doesn’t make sense. He’s been stubborn in that way before, and it has hurt us.

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