Monday, August 16, 2010

The Curious Case of Cole Hamels

As you may have heard, the Phillies took two of three from the Mets up at Citi Field this weekend, drawing to within two games of the Braves in the NL East and pulling even with the Giants in leading the Wild Card. That's good news. However, things didn't start out so great up in Flushing.

We all know that the Phillies had no luck whatsoever in the new ballpark last time, getting swept without scoring a single run over three games. But since the all-star break, the Mets have been awful and the Phils have been rolling, so it was safe to think the Phillies would roll up to New York and make a statement in that first game. They did not, instead getting shut out for the fourth straight game at Citi Field, losing 1-0 to R.A. Dickey, the same R.A. Dickey who I witnessed get shelled in Citizens Bank Park a week earlier. To make it even worse, not only did Dickey shut out the Phils for the second time this year, but the only hit he surrendered came at the hands of opposing pitcher, Cole Hamels.

And that brings me to my main point. Cole Hamels has started 24 games this season for the Phillies. He has a very good 3.33 ERA. He's struck out 157 batters — tied for 4th in the NL —  while only walking 48 in 154 innings. Which is all to say, Cole Hamels has been really, really good in 2010. Yet here he sits, on August 16, with a losing record at 7-9. His last two outings, he's pitched 15 innings of two-run ball, losing both games 1-0. He's surrendered more than three runs just once in his last nine starts, yet only has one win to show for it.

If you recall, Cole suffered a similar fate in 2008, when he finished the regular season with a 3.09 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 196 strikeouts to just 53 walks in 227 and a third innings, yet only finished 14-10. For one reason or another, the Phillies just don't score runs when Hamels is on the mound. On Friday, they didn't even get a hit for him, not a single one. Cole had to do that himself.

So the question has to be asked, why? Why do his teammates seemingly refuse to score runs for him? I think we all know the reason:

BallHype: hype it up!

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