It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of Philadelphia aces, even for a former World Series MVP. Cole Hamels has wasted no time this season stating his case for top ace. After another dominating performance Wednesday night vs. the Dodgers Hamels inked his 8th win of the season, tying the Major League lead. Hamels threw 8 innings of shutout baseball, allowing six hits, no walks while striking out nine.
The Phillies took the rubber match from L.A. with a 2-0 win thanks in large part to the arm of Cole Hamels. With the struggling offense continuing its trend Hamels had to be lights out in order to pull off the series clinching win. Hamels last outing in Pittsburgh resulted in a no decision despite only allowing one hit and one run through 8 strong innings. In the three-game set with the Dodgers the Phillies offense managed just five hits and went 16 for 90.
King Cole continues to show maturity and the ability to work out of a jam. After leading off the 7th by allowing a double to Andre Ethier and a single to Matt Kemp, Hamels retired the next three batters to escape the inning unscathed.
Hamels is quietly pitching his way to a Cy Young. He currently is tied for 1st in the Majors in wins, 5th in the National League in strikeouts, 1st in WHIP, and 6th in ERA at 2.58. Opponents are batting .210 against Hamels which is 6th best in the NL and good enough for tops on the team.
In the 13 games Cole has started in 2011 he has pitched at least 7 innings in 10 of those, including one complete game. He has allowed more than 2 ER’s only 4 out of those 13 games. In his three losses the Phillies have scored a combined four runs.
When asked about Hamels and his strong 2011 season skipper Charlie Manuel was quick to point to his maturity and his growth learning from veteran pitchers such as Jamie Moyer, Doc Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt. It is evident Hamels is not the same pitcher he was a couple years ago. And frightening enough for National League hitters he continues to get better and better. Charlie even made a point to talk about King Cole’s added strength post-game saying just take a look at him in the locker room with his shirt off. Seems as if Cole’s numbers aren’t the only thing beefed up in 2011.
With Oswalt and Lee struggling the Phillies pitching has had to rely on the dominating seasons by Halladay and Hamels. They represent quite possibly the best one two punch in all of baseball. Hamels technically listed as the Phillies 4th starter is pitching way beyond that notion.
In front of the Phillies 155th consecutive regular-season sellout crowd Ryan Madson followed a stellar pitching performance with a stellar one inning performance of his own. Madson kept the shutout alive in the 9th en route to his 14th save. The Phillies runs were scarce but a solo HR by Ryan Howard and some heads up base running from Victorino were enough to seal the deal.
With a less than stellar offense the Phillies will have to rely heavily on its starting pitching if and when the bats decide to wake up.
The Phillies won their first series since the end of May vs. the Mets at Citi Field. The Phillies open up a four game set with the Chicago Cubs starting tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park. Kyle Kendrick takes the mound tomorrow night vs. Cubs righty Randy Wells.