Cole Hamels Looking for a Fresh Start in 2010

March 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

 “I can’t wait for it to end.”

With one simple comment, Cole Hamels sparked a searing firestorm of questions from his team, baseball fans, and the nationwide sports media alike.

Was he quitting on his team at the most crucial point in the season?

The Phillies were on the brink of elimination at the hands of the mighty New York Yankees in last season’s World Series. Times were tough and here was a young man, who just one season ago helped guide them to the promised land, ready now to hang up his cleats and put the glove away for the winter.

It may not have been condoned, but it was surely understandable with context and reasoning.

The 2009 postseason had turned out to be a far cry from the lavish run of a year before, which saw the pitcher win MVP honors in both the NLCS and World Series.

In 2008, he was the toast of the town.

Hamels was the face of a Phillies team which had brought a championship back to the title-starved city of Philadelphia. He was a key figure in the city’s vindication. He was riding the ultimate high that every baseball player dreams of.

Parades, commercials, headlines, and front pages were all new homes for the breakout star.

His postseason accomplishments gave the organization the incentive to award the young stud with a brand new three-year, $20 million contract.

Everything looked to be going smoothly.

With the pay raise would also come added pressure and expectations. He was now the team’s ace and one of the faces of the franchise. Everyone was now under the assumption that he would continue to match the feats of his terrific postseason.

However, times change and success fades.

The 2009 season would prove rocky from the start.

Hamels dealt with lingering elbow problems that would cause him to miss the beginning of the season. It seemed like just a precursor of things to come as he never seemed to get on track. The year would prove to be one that was marred by inconsistencies and struggles.

Cole ended the daunting season with a disappointing 10-11 record while his ERA ballooned to 4.32. He was far from the ace pitcher that the team envisioned him becoming at the start of the year.

He had fallen so far from grace that the Phillies felt the need to bring in Cliff Lee to help right the ship. Lee had taken on the role that Hamels had filled in the 2008 season as the team’s go-to pitcher during its World Series stretch run.

Hamels looked like yesterday’s news.

Compared to his 2008 exploits, the year had the look of a disaster. It was one that saw him give up a career-high in both hits and earned runs while managing to strike out just 168 batters.

Something seemed amiss, and sadly his fortunes would not change once the postseason began.

He would end up managing just one win in his four starts while accumulating a head-scratching 7.58 ERA. It was evident why he would he prefer to put such a rough season behind him.

Nonetheless, putting that disappointment into words may not have been the wisest choice for him at the time. Now he must overcome the stigma that he quit on his team during the most important stretch of the season.

He must now put 2009 behind him.

So begins a fresh start and a new beginning for Cole Hamels. Throughout the majority of spring training, he has looked like his old self, and the type of player that the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia fell in love with.

He is gaining comfort back in his pitches, while at the same time working on regaining his confidence. His fastball is coming back and his curveball is coming around. All things look to be a go when the 2010 season finally gets underway.

The addition of Roy Halladay should ease the burden and allow Cole to pitch without abandon. He no longer has to deal with the burden of being the team’s ace. Having one of the better lineups in all of baseball on his side shouldn’t hurt his cause much either.

The mound now looks to be his sanctuary once again and the 2010 season looks to be one filled with promise for both Cole and the Phillies.

It is with the same level of anticipation that Cole Hamels couldn’t wait for the previous season to end that he now anxiously awaits the 2010 season to finally begin.


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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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