Cole Hamels Is on Fire: Phillies Pitcher Continues Hot Stretch Against Braves

September 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

When LHP Cole Hamels had his national coming-out party in the 2008 playoffs, I thought it would springboard him to a Cy Young-caliber year in 2009.

I predicted Hamels would win the National League Cy Young, and that prediction slapped me in the face like I would like to slap Braylon Edwards in the face for getting a DWI this morning.

Hamels suffered through a miserable 2009 campaign, going 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA (highest of his career), a 1.28 WHIP (highest of his career), and a whopping 9.6 hits/9 allowed. His head wasn’t in the game, and he just looked off the whole season.

2010 has been a different story for Hamels, and last night he continued his great season against the Atlanta Braves.

In a showdown for first place in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Braves 3-1 behind eight extremely solid innings from Hamels. Hamels gave up just six hits, one run, and one walk and struck out six in the 117-pitch effort.

His changeup was awesome last night, as he kept it down in the zone and got Brave hitters to swing and miss on it 20 percent of the time, which was more than any other pitch he threw last night.

For Hamels, this is nothing new. Over his last five starts, he has absolutely been on fire. In his last five starts, Hamels is 5-0 with a 0.49 ERA and is holding batters to a .173 batting average.

Most importantly, Hamels’ confidence is back. He looked like a man possessed last night. He was quick to the plate, he looked in command, and he looked like a guy who knew he was going to win the game.

A stark contrast from last season.

Not only has Hamels been great over his last five starts, he has been great all season as well. Hamels has bounced back in 2010 with a 2.93 ERA, 9.2 K/9 (highest since 2006), and more ground balls than ever before (45 percent).

His velocity is back up on his fastball to 92 mph, and Hamels has even added a cutter in 2010. Perhaps watching Andy Pettitte throw his cutter against the Phillies in the World Series last year inspired Hamels. A cutter biting down and in is death to a right-handed batter.

With Hamels on a roll and Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt anchoring the top of the rotation, the Phillies right now have the best top three in baseball. I feel bad for whoever they are playing in the NLDS.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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