Hamels Pitching Like An Ace Again

hamels 0613 2010.jpgIf Roy Halladay is the Phillies’ ace, what is Cole Hamels?

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.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

15 Comments

I have to agree with you, Todd. I think it’s been tough to watch the Phillies these past few weeks but I don’t think that anyone can make any sort of argument that Cole Hamels is to blame. Cole has looked very good. 3, 4, and 5 have been all over the place.

http://phanaticaddict.mlblogs.com/

Nice, putting the word double in quotes. Official scoring is such a racket. Home teams get favorable hit calls, regardless of whether a player runs under the ball and it hits his glove. What’s worse is that unlike the umpires, official scorers have the ability to review a replay, but often still allow their original biased opinion to stand.
And funny that a game that is so attached to its numbers that it wouldn’t correct a problem.
That’s how badly I’m looking for something to watch during this stretch of games. A rant on official scorers. Pity.

I had a feeling Hamels would pitch a good game, but wasn’t sure if the offense would show up to support him. Nice to see that it did at least in the one inning(RAUUL! nice to see you hit a dinger). Tuesday’s match-up CC vs Doc should be a great pitchers duel.

Had a thought about this slump that I wasn’t sure if anyone out there had mentioned it…….Could it be that the last 3 years of post season baseball had caught up with the team? They’ve played into October 3 years in a row. Maybe its starting to have an effect. I hope I’m way off base.

Hopefully he can keep this up so we can have a relaible 1-2 punch if we are to make the postseason. The booing however, at the time, was justified. He was anything but consistent and it looked like he was heading for another underachieving season. Looks like he has figured things out.

A lot of us have been bithcing about the lineup these past weeks, calling for them to bring up new blood. However, who would you not want out there everyday from the starting 8? With JRoll playing (and the replacements have done a fine job) we have the best infield in baseball. Our OF has 3 all-stars, and even if you sat Ibanez, making him the 4th OF, is Mayberry really any better? Browne is at least a year away. Rube did right in restocking the farm not for this year, but for next year, or two years from now. You can’t go into a season planning an a epic team wide slump.

Our bench does need help. Dobbs has to do, and I’m not thrilled with Fransisco either, though he’s a cheap option. I’d like to see them pick up a true hitter to be used as DH in interleague (and WS) play. He’d be the 25th man off the bench normally but would earn his keep when we play the AL.

Our reaction this past month and our demands to take all kinds of actions are proof that JRoll was correct when he called the Phans front runners. This is our team and they deserve our backing?even when they are having tough spots. DO we leave our spouses because they go through a rough period now and then? Food for thought.

Voltaire, in a letter to a friend apologized for not having the time to write a shorter response.

FIJ: Don’t think folks have jumped ship to date. Everyone is of course expressing their frustration at watching how this team is playing. We all know (and they know) that they are much more capable then they’ve shown recently. As of the moment it is one of the most puzzling things going on in MLB.

f-i-j, you apparently don’t know the Philadelphia fanbase very well. Just because we criticize and vent, it doesn’t mean we are jumping ship. Do you really think a phan who takes the time to read blogs and respond to them is jumping ship? Barring a ten game winning streak, we are always going to *****.

karen & phan: Correct. Offering criticism doesn’t necessitate abandoning the ballclub. I don’t think 81 straight sellout’s (or whatever it is) constitutes a group of front runners. More than anything, we’re confused and frustrated.

As far as Voltaire, he was a wasted draft pick. With John Locke and Montesquieu still on the board, I don’t know what they were thinking.

I kind of envy superficial front-runner fans of any sport. It’s nice to enjoy the success and walk away when things get ugly. I’m NOT that kind of phan. After the last weekend, I decided that I still believed that the Phils could win the WSC this year. The Phils having a players-only meeting showed me that they are the same team that we’ve come to love over the past almost 4 years. Why would they issue a disclaimer that we shouldn’t expect to see immediate improve the next day (when Blanton threw BP)? I believe they are still the same team. That meeting HAD TO be to let every team member know that they were still supporting each other 100 and believed that they would eventually be able to turn the season around. If they stand together, united as one, once the offense starts clicking, they will steamroll the NL East and the rest of the NL, IMHO….

anybobdy check to see if lil’ Billy Penn is still on his perch?
maybe someone moved him…

fij………..Didn’t you get the memo that the trade which allegedly allowed Junior to “re-stock” the farm system is verboten here? Yeah, right, restock the farm system………..kind of like signing Joe Blanton for $10.5 million next year and another $10.5 million for 2012. Junior is such a turkey.

pherris, there is nobody who they traded for either Lee or Halladay who would be able to come up and help the Phillies right now. Maybe Donald instead of Valdez, but he is hitting a lusty .238 for the Indians and Valdez is a much better defensive player anyway. The bench is weak because of the signings, not the trades. Dobbs in particular is a disaster and Gload isn’t a whole lot better. They realistically didn’t think they should need anything from the farm until at least next year. Even Drabek is still in AA.
But the Phillies are struggling because their leader and leadoff hitter is on the DL, and their #3 and #5 hitters are hopelessly confused and frustrated. I will bet that Blanton gets his act together, and Happ will contribute after the All-Star break.

phan52, where have I suggested that anyone the Phillies traded could help them now? But don’t p-i-s-s in my ear and tell me it’s raining either as Junior has attempted to do with this “restocking the farm system” bull s-hit. The only one who keeps repeating the party line is fij. Blanton is a waste. Imagine, he is going to make $10.5 million per year for the next two years after this. This is the same guy who the Phillies tried to trade but could not find any takers. So what was Junior’s solution? Sign Blanton to a lucrative extension.

pherrisphain, you should know enough about Blanton to at least give him two months to get into form. Normally, he takes a month to make the adjustments to pitching in the regular season. He got injured right before the season started. It ruined all his previous preparation for the season. When he came off the DL, he didn’t even get the equivalent of a few Grapefruit league starts before he started pitching meaningful games. If Charlie hadn’t been forced to pitch Big Joe as many innings as possible (to save the depleted pen), he would have had time to ease into a 6-7 inning outing. Instead, he started pitching well in the first 4-5 innings and got killed in the last inning he pitched for the first 4-5 starts, and now looks totally lost from the start. We know he’s physically healthy. His stuff looks good on TV but he just keeps leaving too many pitches over the plate that end up getting pounded. That’s a control issue, which I believe he will be able to fix. I still think he can eat up 4 months of innings.

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