Now, Cole Hamels can be considered the best 8-10 pitcher on the planet.
After completing a masterful six-hit, no walk shutout on the road against his hometown Padres, the lanky lefty snapped his improbable eight-game winless streak to lead the Phillies to a 5-0 win.
Let the record show that the Phillies rode all of four hits—although two were homers by Mike Sweeney and Jayson Werth—to sweep the Padres, and keep pace with the Braves who staged a dramatic comeback against the Marlins.
Game accounts may also reflect that the Padres’ defense—and I use that term lightly—committed four errors in a performance that would have been booed in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
(In case you were wondering, Japan edged the youngsters from Waipahu Hawaii, 4-0 to take the Little League World Series.)
But, today’s game was all about Hamels, who notched his first win since July 11th. An examination of the box scores for those eight games shows that Hollywood could have, and should have, won five or six of those games.
One has to wonder if anyone else was singing the following baseball nursery rhyme to console young Cole during his personal ordeal:
Hollywood Cole was a tortured young soul
And a tortured young soul was he
He called for the ball, and he gave it his all
But the Phillies played crappily.
Ditties aside, during those infamous eight starts, Hamels went from 7-7 to 7-10, with five no-decisions, yet the Phils did win four of those games.
A look inside the numbers will reveal that:
- Hamels pitched well enough to lower his season ERA from 3.78 to 3.47.
- After today’s masterpiece, his ERA is a tidy 3.31.
- In six of the eight starts, Cole pitched at least seven innings, and he yielded two or fewer runs five times.
- The flashiest gem of the bunch was the July 22nd game in St. Louis, when Hollywood gave up no runs—on one hit—in eight innings. For good measure, he struck out seven and walked only one. The Phils decided to score their only two runs after Hamels left, winning 2-0.
For the eight games as a whole—and these are numbers worthy of an eight-game winning streak— Hamels pitched a total of 54 innings (almost seven innings per start).
- The lefty gave up a total of 44 hits, leading to 17 earned runs, for a tiny ERA of 2.83.
- Oh yeah, he struck out 63 batters and walked 11.
- Any baseball fan will tell you that his k/bb ratio of 5.72 was ridiculously good.
Baseball has a way of evening things out over time, and Phillies fans must feel good about the future of their 2008 World Series hero, who has now overcome a forgotten 2009 campaign and this bizarro streak from Hades.
If the baseball gods were punishing Cole for his lack of maturity in the playoffs last year, one would hope that they will stop testing him.
Job had an easy life compared to the last seven weeks for Hamels (I know that Job’s salary was a little less, but work with me here).
And if the Phillies bats ever wake up and the big three of Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels continue to resemble Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine in their prime, can anyone blame Phillies Nation for dreaming about a third straight World Series appearance?
I can hear it now.
Cole and Doc and Roy Oswalt—no shock
Are as happy as they can be
The Fall Classic is back, and the Phils are on track
Thanks in large part to their Big Three.