Today against the Mariners, Cole Hamels can become the first pitcher in the MLB to reach 10 wins. Wow, what a difference one year makes.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee raved about Hamels this spring, saying he was improved and finally would live up to his potential. After a terrible showing in his first start of the season going only two and two-thirds innings while allowing six runs in a loss to the Mets, Cole had Phillies fans thinking, "Here we go again."
After this awful showing, Hamels has been an ace among aces. He has nine wins (tied with Roy Halladay for the NL lead), only two losses and has a stunning 2.49 ERA, which leads the Phillies staff. Hamels has also went seven or more innings in 11 of his 14 starts. He has 97 strikeouts, which is eighth in the MLB and fifth in the NL.
However, the most impressive part about the way Hamels has pitched has not been his stats. It has been his mentality. Back in 2009 and even last season, it was evident that Cole did not have his head straight.
If he didn't get one call his way, he would pant and argue until he pitched himself out of the game. In the World Series in 2009, Cole said he couldn't wait until the season was over. He was in line to pitch Game 7 of the World Series, but he was worrying about when the season would be over.
Cole then had a decent 2010 season going 12-11 with a 3.06 ERA, but he made it his goal to return to his 2008 World Series and NLCS MVP form.
Cole has been brilliant on the mound and has kept his composure many times this season after not getting calls his way.
Coming out of the Phillies farm system, scouts raved about Hamel's mid-90s fastball and his nasty change-up. The question was, could he develop a third pitch?
Not only did Cole develop a third pitch, but he even acquired a fourth.
This season, Cole has been throwing all four of his pitches effectively. Early in his career, his curveball was responsible for most of his HR allowed, and now it is a go-to strikeout pitch along with his change-up. Also, he has developed a very good cutter to add to his repertoire.
Ironically because of a doubleheader with the Marlins, Hamels is now pitching the game before Roy Halladay. Maybe this is a sign for years to come, that Cole Hamels will be an ace for years to come.
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