And his kingdom is Philadelphia. Defend your throne, sir.
And his kingdom is Philadelphia. Defend your throne, sir.
Game 1 Recap
King Cole Hamels pitched 8 scoreless innings in front of 45,929 phans as the Phillies downed the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 to take the first game of the Divisional Series. He allowed only 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 9 batters in only 101 pitches. Only 9 pitches were even hit out of the infield, and none of them fell in for extra bases. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The Phils bats didn’t exactly excited, but they did the job. Chase Utley’s two-run double in the 3rd inning proved enough breathing room for Mr. Hamels and his changeup. Shane Victorino walking to first scored the third and final run for the good guys.
The 9th inning wasn’t as easy as the first eight though. Charlie Manuel pulled Hamels and sent in Brad Lidge to close it out, only for Lidge to perform a highwire act (with added help from a Chase Utley error). A single, a double, an error, a walk, and a wild pitch later and the Brewers had Corey Hart at the plate with 2 outs and a man on third. Luckily, Lidge remained wildly effective as he struck Hart out swinging. In fact, Lidge struck out the side swinging, with a few baserunners sprinkled in the middle of those.
So…was it a good idea to pull Hamels to bring in Lidge with the 3-0 lead in the ninth? No. Hamels had 101 pitches and was likely able to pitch another inning. If one feared him losing his control or becoming tired, having Lidge up and waiting to pitch was better than just sending him in right away. Now the Phils’ best reliever threw a 35 pitch inning and could be used again in tomorrow’s game depending on the circumstances.
Game 2 Preview
Brett Myers, RHP
10-13 4.55 ERA 1.38 WHIP
190 IP 163 K 65 BB
CC Sabathia, LHP
17-10 2.70 ERA 1.11 WHIP
253 IP 251 K 59 BB
This matchup is tilting Milwaukee unless the Brett Myers of August and early September shows up. Sabathia will be pitching on only three days of rest, but the Brew crew had him doing it down the stretch and he’s yet to falter. The big man’s been gangbusters for Milwaukee since the mid-season trade, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll simply stop that. Then again, anything can happen in a game which relies on so many different players and when pitchers still have to rely on defense. If the Phillies keep this game close, the hitters must be patient at the plate and try to wear down Sabathia and get into the bullpen. That’s their best chance. However, a nice and easy blowout would be much more fun!
Remember just two weeks ago when accusations were flying on talk radio about how Hamels might not have been willing to go ‘all out’ because he might’ve been unwilling to pitch on a day less of rest? Well, a simply glance at the league leaders in innings pitched would’ve quelled the mini-controversy…and yet no one checked it. After last night’s win, he continues to lead the majors in innings pitched at 214.1. Hell, he’s in the top 10 in the majors in pitches thrown. Let’s look at his workload since coming into the league in 2006:
2006: 94.7 pitches/start, 132.1 innings
2007: 99.7 pitches/start, 183.1 innings
2008: 103.7 pitches/start, 214.1 innings
He’s gone further into games with each successive season, and there’s been no grumbling out of Hamels. To the contrary, the man wants to go further into games:
“Physically, I feel great,” the 24-year-old lefty said. “I haven’t had any worries. I’m finally getting to the ultimate goal that I’ve always had – staying healthy.”
Hamels wanted to go deeper in yesterday’s game, but his command was a little off and his pitch count swelled to 113. That was enough, manager Charlie Manuel said.
He’s a great pitcher, but there’s a reason pitchers aren’t given the reigns to their workload. They want to keep on pitching and pitching and finish their work…until their arm falls off. Sort of like Jason Schmidt. Remember him? He’s the prototypical workhorse, an innings eater that actually filled those innings with quality pitching. He was, anyway, until his right shoulder decided it had enough abuse and Schmidt’s been on the disabled list for the entire 2008 season due to shoulder surgery. And now he’s going to have a SECOND surgery on his shoulder to enable him to come back 100%.
Take the story of Jason Schmidt as a warning. Don’t want a guy like Cole Hamels to be any more of a workhorse than he already is because he may just end up working hard…rehabbing. Enjoy what’s he been doing thus far, and let him do his thing without pushing him to the edge.
Mr. Cole Hamels up and dominated last night in a game that took only 2 hours and 13 minutes. He went the distance, giving up only 4 hits and walking 2 batters in 9 innings. Mr. Hamels’ ERA now sits at 2.89 and he has 54 Ks in 65.1 IP. The only downside was it took 120 pitches to get there, and manager Charlie Manuel has been keeping Hamels in the game longer than last season, such as when he threw 121 pitches against Milwaukee on April 23rd. I would hope that Manuel keeps an eye on this and makes sure Hamels doesn’t routinely hit 120. This isn’t the 50s when teams would run a pitcher ragged and ride him until he breaks.
Still, it’s a great sign that Hamels has been pitching so well, considering he’s the anchor of this rotation. He’s been the only consistently good starter on this team. With the other four being so up and down it’s great to have a probable win every 5 games.
Oh, and he had 2 more hits and is hitting .320 for the season. It always helps to have the pitcher collect a couple of hits and be more than an absolute void at the bottom of the lineup.
Outfielder Shane Victorino, Hamels and Rosario remained unsigned.
Is this a big deal?
King Cole Hamels can do it all. He makes the NL All-Star team, gets a website spawned in his name, and gets owner of said website on local morning show tv. Kevin Adams, owner and entrepreneur of ColeHamelsFacts.com is a humble man from a humble upbringing. His father told him ghost stories as a child, his mother showed him the art of throwing t-shirts into a crowd, and Cole Hamels taught him how to become a minor internet celebrity.
Bask in the FOX 29 goodness:
King Felix is going to have to wait in line, it just ain’t his turn. King Cole Hamels has had his say, and he says that Felix Hernandez just isn’t worthy of the ‘King’ moniker…Cole’s gonna take it for himself. The numbers won’t lie baby:
OK, so Cole is better in every stat possible except for homers given up and ground ball/fly ball ratio, and those obviously correlate to one another. Cole’s been slightly better in every other category. But then you look at their BABIPs and the image gets cloudier. Basically, this stat considers the batting average on balls put into play, and the theory behind it holds that balls hit into play (excluding homers) are largely out of the pitcher’s hands; it’s luck. This doesn’t differentiate between screaming line drives and lazy pop flies, but it’s still proven to be a fairly decent stat. The higher it is, the less lucky the pitcher’s been, and the average is about .290.
Uh oh. This isn’t looking good for Cole. Felix has been extremely unlucky, and no doubt this partly has to do with where he pitches half his games (Safeco is HUGE according to Wheels). Balls fall in front of outfielders far more often there than in Citizen’s Bank Park, but that’s the tradeoff one makes for less homers. In any event, Felix’s numbers are likely to improve as the season goes along, provided he pitches in a similar way to how he has thus far. Cole’s been much closer to the average for balls in play, and so his output is likely to be far more in line with what he’s already done.
So who to dethrone? Well, neither. Felix missed a couple start, is still younger by 2 years, and has been fairly unlucky with balls in play. Cole and Felix are both Kings awaiting their thrones.
But hell, Cole has a cool website. He wins!
Kevin Adams is the mad scientist behind colehamelsfacts.com. A young phenom pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, Hamels busted onto the scene in May of the 2006 season hasn’t looked back. As “the facts” starting picking up steam with the exceptional performance from Hamels, Adams starting getting national attention from the likes of The New York Times and Yahoo.com. Though, this 29 year old middle school computer applications teacher doesn’t really concern himself with all the fame. Besides running the popular website, that even has its own store, he plays drums in two bands and works as a Phanstormer at Phillies games. And ladies, forget about it, he’s happily married.
Todd: Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, you picked a real original idea, eh?
Kevin: It just happened to work out that way. I honestly didn’t know much about the whole phenomenon. I mean, I heard the “guns don’t kill people, Chuck Norris kills people”, but outside of that, I wasn’t really familiar with those sites. I don’t even watch 24, but I’m sure Jack Bauer couldn’t hit a Cole Hamels [batting practice] fastball.
T: What lead you to do it?
K: Cole pitched his first AAA game, I saw his first AA start in person, not as impressive, and he was awesome.
T: So it was a spur of the moment kind of thing?
T: So what’s the best and worst “fact” anyone ever submitted.
K: The worst is easy, “Cole is 100 feet tall”. I mean, what the $#@! is that? He’s 6’4. The best, “Cole Hamels spelled backward is Slemah Eloc. Still, Cole Hamels is a palindrome.”
T: So are most facts good or are most bad?
K: Most are bad, though about one in every fifty have made me laugh out loud.
T: So it’s tough finding the good ones to stick on those colehamelsfact.com thongs?
K: It was pretty clear that the one that’s on the shirts [are] pretty popular. But there are more coming. My business associate, Duane Peck, designs the shirts.
T: You have a business associate?
K: Well, we have verbal business agreements. They design the stuff, I owe them money.
T: Oh I see. So what was the reason for [the merchandise], just trying to make a few bucks?
K: The merchandise came about because that was the next logical step, isn’t the American dream getting something for nothing?
T: You mean slapping Cole’s name on every piece of crap that comes down the aisle, kind of like Bill O’Reilly does?
K: You’d be surprised what people will buy. I didn’t think anyone would buy any of it. But, for god’s sake, one of his family members bought a dog t-shirt, and personally told me that the dog wears it all the time.
T: So did it make even more validating when [Cole’s Playboy Playmate wife] Heidi Hamels bought some shirts?
K: It was the second proudest moment of the facts’ life.
K: Cole himself saying that he thought the site was hilarious, and also saying so in the media.
T: Any chance that’ll wind up on a t-shirt?
K: Anything’s possible, Todd.
- Thanks to Todd for supplying this piece.
He now leads the league in strikeouts at 70, 4 ahead of Padres ace Jake Peavy. His ERA dropped to 3.30 after Wednesday’s 6-2 win over the Brewers, and his K:BB ratio became a terrific 4.12.
Oh yeah, he’s 6-1 if that matters to you. All hail the King.
Rich Hill has started off the season for the Cubs by going 4-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. He’s been sensational in keeping hitters off the bases, limiting them to a .181 opponent batting average, and striking out 33 while walking only 12. Cole Hamels has been similarily impressive, also starting off 4-1 3.59 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He’s fanned 59 batters and walked 14, while allowing baserunners to hit .271 off him.
So that’s the difference between the two: .181 OBA > .271 OBA. All other stats are fairly similar, and Hamels is actually better in strikeouts per 9 and strikeout/walk ratio. Hill’s is abnormally low and Hamels’ is abnormally high. I’d expect both of these to even out as the year progresses, and Hamels’ WHIP will go down as Hill’s goes up. Both will be all-star selections, and both will be quality young lefties for two teams that sorely need them.
Tonight’s going to be fun.