Hamels Pitching Like An Ace Again
Hamels earned the ace label during the 2008 postseason, but lost it during a disappointing 2009. I felt like I was in the minority (based on the ridiculous booing I heard during some of Hamels’ earlier starts this season), but I never worried about him. Hamels threw a ton of pitches and a ton of innings in 2008, and for a young pitcher it meant Hamels likely would struggle in 2009. He did. But after a rigorous off-season program, Hamels is looking once again like ace material.
He allowed five hits and one run and struck out eight in seven innings today in a badly needed 5-3 victory over the Red Sox.
His fastball often hit 96 mph, which was impressive. But the most impressive thing I saw? Hamels kept cool after Jayson Werth dropped a fly ball for a “double” and after Victor Martinez walked following a grueling 15-pitch at-bat to start the sixth inning. Hamels struck out Adrian Beltre, got David Ortiz to ground into a fielder’s choice and got Mike Lowell to fly out to end the inning.
“After Victor’s at-bat, there was a lot of, I don’t want to say excuses or reasons [Hamels could have slipped], but for him to do what he did after that, I think shows even more the type of pitcher he is,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “That was an unbelievable at-bat and in a lot of ways, maybe takes something out of a pitcher. We still couldn’t get it done. He’s a good pitcher that pitched a great game.”
Hamels has a 2.77 ERA in his last eight starts. If the offense ever gets on track and Halladay and Hamels keep doing what they’re doing, the Phillies will look especially dangerous in October.
Of course, October is a long way away, and if the last several weeks has showed us anything, nothing should be taken for granted. But Hamels is pitching well, which should give fans one less thing to worry about.