Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hamels Must Improve

The Phillies hopes of repeating as World Series champs rely on Cole Hamels. Hamels has been average at best this season, after winning 15 games last year and earning the World Series MVP award. Hamels is 7-8 with a 4.78 ERA this season. Last night he pitched 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits against the injury-depleted Mets.

Hamels is 0-3 in August with a 6.75 ERA. By comparison, Cliff Lee is 3-0 in August with a 0.75 ERA. There should be no debate who the ace of the staff is now. Some people thought Hamels would be pressured by Lee to pick up the pace. Apparently he didn't get the message.

If the playoffs started today, I don't think Hamels is in the rotation. I would go with Lee, Happ, Blanton, then Pedro. I don't know what's wrong with Hamels. He basically throws only 2 pitches 95% of the time (fastball and changeup). Maybe he is tipping his pitches and the batters just use a process of elimination.

It also seems like he is having control problems. He hit the Mets pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, last night with two outs. He could have gotten out of the inning because the Mets scored a run after that.

I don't know why Hamels is struggling but I do know he must improve for the team's sake. If Hamels becomes the pitcher we know and love, the Phillies will have a deep rotation. If not, the Phillies better hope their hitters are hot come playoff time.

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