Obvious Choice: Hamels to Start Opening Day

Cole HamelsThe Phillies made the obvious official this evening when they finally announced Cole Hamels will be their Opening Day starter.

It had been lined up that way for weeks.

Hamels unquestionably is the most deserving starter among a group that includes former Cy Young winners Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. He went 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA last season, earning a trip to his third All-Star Game and finishing eighth in National League Cy Young voting.

Hamels downplayed the possibility of starting Opening Day last month, despite the fact he had never started one in his career. Hamels earned 2008 World Series and National League Championship Series honors, but because of an injury in 2009 and the arrival of Halladay in 2010, he never pitched the season opener, although he pitched the home opener last year.

“I’ve never really thought about it,” Hamels said last month. “It’s one game, one appearance and then you’re back into the normal baseball atmosphere. I’ve never really looked at it as this big sort of ordeal. I’ve always valued the playoffs.”

Hamels would rather start Game 1 of the World Series instead.

“When you have to lead off the playoff game and a series, I think that’s pretty important,” he said. “I think that’s kind of where it’s at. If you do get that honor, you just go out and stick to business and try to win a ballgame.”

The Phillies open their season April 1 in Atlanta. Halladay is scheduled to pitch the second game of the season April 3, thus ending his streak of 10 consecutive Opening Day starts, which was the longest active streak in the big leagues. Lee will pitch the series finale against the Braves April 4. That sets up right-hander Kyle Kendrick to pitch the home opener April 5 against the Royals at Citizens Bank Park. Left-hander John Lannan will make his Phillies debut April 6.

Hamels said there is a sense of urgency to win this season after missing the playoffs last year following five consecutive NL East championships.

“There’s definitely a sense of urgency,” he said. “If you don’t have that in this game, you’re not going to last long. The organization isn’t going to be happy, the city isn’t going to be happy. That’s the reason why people obviously leave, and ultimately that’s the reason I wanted to stay. I know what it takes, I know these guys want to do it. With the injuries we kind of lost the path that we were accustomed to, on top of having teams in the division playing very well. So we have to get that urgency back and get back to playing the baseball we’re capable of playing.”

He can get the Phillies off to a good start April 1.

12 Comments

Why not swap out Kendrick and Lee so at least we can have Lee for opening the bank? It’s the least the season ticket holders deserve after last year.

Maybe because Kendrick pitched better than Lee last year and deserves it?

How do you figure, Pherris? I don’t know what stats you are referring to that show Kendrick was better than Lee last year…….I guess you just look at the wins-losses.

@philliesfanbase – didn’t they do that last season with Hamels? then you get the big 3 out of sync. it played better to our advantage to have these 3 pitches pitching back to back to back.

As an Atlanta-based die hard Phils fan this makes me even more excited for April 1st – I bought my tickets weeks ago and I can’t wait to see Hamels roll the Braves. Well deserved Cole!

No disrespect for Halladay or Lee, but this is long overdue. I felt since 2008 Cole earned the right to be our number one. He came through our system and has been awesome ever since

Cole is pretty much the staff ace now Cliff and Doc are still awesome, but Cole is “awesomer”(!) Surprised no one is asking what the deal is regarding Valdes starting on Saturday?? Supposed to be Cole or Doc’s start? Hopefully nobody needed an extra day off?

This year WSH, ATL and the Phillies should all pad their records against the NYM and MIA. Their records against each other will determine the division winner and a wild card, so going with your best three starters in ATL makes sense. They need as many starts from those three as possible. They are the 1-3 starters. KK is 4th for a reason (and wasn’t better than Lee last year). Also, WSH, I believe, will be pounding the Marlins in their opening series and won’t play the Phillies until the third week of May, so even though the good guys are usually a strong second half team, this year they can’t afford to fall too far behind early. The big guys have to take as many turns as possible early on.

Off topic… check out Jermaine Mitchell’s spring stats… 15 abs… 5 extra base hits… 3 triples. He’s tied for the spring training lead in 3 baggers, in half as many ab’s as the 2 guys he’s tied with. I know it’s spring training and it doesn’t mean much… but this guy hasn’t gotten much of a shot but is putting up pretty insane numbers (small sample size)… I’d like to see some coverage of this guy. The guy’s an old rookie, I know… but he can run, hit with a little power and plays decent D. There’s alot of versatility there. Too bad he’s not a Rule 5 guy. My question… is he a guy who’s got options? So the Phils can stash him in AAA?

How convenient, Roy now has the flu? It seems he contracts the flu several times a year. Has he not heard about vaccinations? I do not know whether the vaccinations are effective having only gotten them myself for the past two years But I can say that either with or without the vaccinations, I have had the flu only once in the last 40 years. Actually, that was 41 years ago.

Never had the flu, never got a flu shot. I guess I’ve just jinxed myself.

My wife and I got flu shots for 7 years in a row and each time we felt pretty severe flu-like symptoms. 6 years ago we couldn’t afford the shots, but never got the flu that year. Since then, we have never gotten a flu shot, not have either of us gotten the flu. The whole dam thing is a scam by the pharmaceutical companies working with the media to trick Americans into buying something we don’t need, IMHO.

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