Welcome to Hollywood: Cole Hamels Finally Becoming an Ace for the Phillies

September 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

I’ve got some bad news for you, Cole Hamels.

You might be known as Hollywood to your teammates, you might be married to a Survivor star that got naked for some chocolate (not that I watched, of course), and you may have even spent the better part of 2009 posing as a Comcast spokesperson.

But to me? You’re boring.

In years past you were always good for five or six solid innings sprinkled with a ton of foul balls, some tough calls that made you angry at the umpire, followed by a few hanging change-ups that ended up becoming souvenirs.

Sure, you would win 10 to 15 games every year too, but either way it was something good.

For most of this season, however, you have developed this nasty habit of doing nothing more than taking the mound every five days with a Dirty Harry demeanor, always keeping your composure, and collecting quality outings like they were Silly Bandz.

Hamels was once again “boring” last night, throwing eight sparkling innings and giving up just one run, all the while looking every bit like the ace Phillies fans always hoped he would become. 

The “Phightins” now have a four-game lead over the Braves in the NL East, and despite being more banged up than Lindsey Lohan for most of the season, they are just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball.

The biggest reason the Phillies are where they are? That would be Cole Hamels.

Not to diminish anything that Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, or any of the Phillies’ big contributors has done this season, but it’s the lift they got from Hamels that has them on pace to finish with their best record since 1993.

A few stats to consider…

During the second half, Hamels has the National League’s second lowest ERA. 

Oh, and he is third in the NL in strikeouts, eighth in innings, and ninth in WHIP for the season.

Pretty solid, right? If your ace is putting up those numbers, your team will more than likely be playing meaningful games in September. If it’s your No. 2 doing that (or maybe even No. 3 depending on how you feel about Roy Oswalt), you have a team that’s going to have Philly fans watching deep into October.

With all those numbers, Hamels has been plagued by a lack of run support, with his record hovering at a pedestrian 12-10. In some ways, that is his most impressive stat.

Cole seems to have finally grasped what it means to be a major league pitcher, putting his team on his back every fifth day, supporting everyone else the other days. Hollywood seems to have finally realized that even the star needs a supporting cast, and he has mastered both roles.

During his Cy Young-worthy performance on Monday night, one thing stuck out to me, and it wasn’t the eight innings, six strikeouts, or just the one walk.

What stood out was the way Hamels exited the game. He handed the ball to Charlie Manuel, nodded to the crowd, and stopped by home plate to have a word with home plate umpire Mark Carlson.

“Thank you” was all that Hamels said, and with a smile he walked into the dugout.

It’s certainly not the first time a pitcher has acknowledged the home plate umpire, especially after he just pitched a gem in maybe the biggest non-playoff game of his career. But there is more to it than that.

Last season Carlson was behind the plate for a late June Hamels start. After getting rocked for four runs in 4.2 innings, Hamels threw a hissy fit on his way to the dugout and was tossed from the game by Carlson.

It was impossible to miss the difference last night.

Cole Hamels, the one-time wunderkind, the 2008 World Series MVP, the 2009 World Series quitter, has grown up.

As the season winds down, expect to see plenty more of the new “boring” Cole Hamels putting up numbers similar to last night– and if you are a Phillies fan, that’s a very good thing.

Read more Philadelphia Phillies news on BleacherReport.com

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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