Game three of the National League Division Series was just another day at the office for Cole Hamels.
Hamels tossed a complete game shutout as the Phillies advanced to the National League Championship Series for the third consecutive year.
Cole's performance last night was vintage 2008, when he carried the Phillies to the world championship.
Last season, Hamels was a train wreck very time he stepped on the mound. The young lefty finished the 2009 regular season with a 10-11 record and a career high 4.32 ERA.
He had a fastball at around 89-91 mph, which led to no command of his devastating changeup throughout the season. This was a recipe for disaster.
Hamels lost all confidence in his abilities to pitch at a high level. After a dreadful World Series start, Hamels maddened Philadelphia fans when he said, “I can’t wait for (the season) to end.”
That was the beginning of a new and dedicated Cole Hamels, who decided to start a new workout regimen to improve his performance and create more secondary pitches.
General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. traded away Cliff Lee last season because he knew Hamels was going to redeem himself in 2010.
Hamels pitched well in spring training with excellent command of his fastball. He had a new cutter and an improved curveball to go with his changeup. This was a recipe for success.
Cole rewarded the Phillies brass for their faith in him as a pitcher. Throughout the season, he continued to dominate in big games that led to the Phillies fourth straight division crown.
Hamels provided insurance for staff ace Roy Halladay and newly acquired Roy Oswalt.
Cole paved the way for the Phillies to acquire Oswalt, which created the dominant rotation fans see today.
Roy Halladay was the Phillies best pitcher this season and should win the Cy Young award, but Cole Hamels proved why the Phillies did not miss a beat in their rotation.
Cole went 12-11 with a career low 3.06 ERA in 2010, but had the second lowest run support in Major League Baseball. He should have finished the season with 17 to 19 wins.
Hamels was the "X-factor" in the Phillies rotation and the team needed him to bounce back from the 2009 debacle.
He is now a better pitcher than the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP and can pitch himself into one of the game's greatest postseason pitchers with a repeat performance from last night.
The Phillies front office took a gamble for believing in Cole Hamels last offseason and they hit the double jackpot with him and Roy Halladay.