Was Cole Hamels loss to Yanks on Wednesday his final game with the Phillies?
By Howard Goldin
Although most of the writing on the final game of the Yankees-Phillies four game series at Yankee Stadium will be devoted to the excellent pitching of Ivan Nova in his first major league start in 14 months, there should also be interest in what could have been Phillies starter, Cole Hamels, last game in a Phillies’ uniform.
Hamels, a native of San Diego, California, has been a member of the zPhiladelphia Phillies organization since being drafted in the first round of the 2002 MLB First Year Players Draft.
The lefthander made his major league debut in May of 2006. After an outstanding rookie campaign, Hamelswith double figure victories in each of the next five seasons was an important contributor to the Phillies qualifying for post-season play in each of those years, 2007-2011. His playoff pitching in 2008 was exceptionally impressive as he was named MVP in both the National league Championship Series (NLCS) and in the World Series. His superlative work was also recognized by him being chosen for the National League all-Star team in three seasons, 2007, 2011 and 2012.
Despite his fine pitching or perhaps because of it, Hamels was considered a candidate for free agency in 2012, but elected to sign a long-term renewal with Philadelpia, six years (through 2018) with a club option for 2019.
During the past two seasons, 2013 and 2014, Hamelshas not reached double figures in wins. That may appear to be a decline, but the full story is somewhat different. In 2013, Hamels had the seventh lowest run support average among National League starters. In 2014, the support from his teammates declined further as he was sixth lowest in the league. Also, he had his lowest season ERA of 2.46 and finished sixth in the voting for the Cy Young Award. It should also be noted that the Phillies completed both years with a record beneath .500.
The story is not very different this season for Hamels. His record is 5-6, but he still lacks offensive support. After his five innings on the mound at Yankee stadium on Wednesday, not a Phillies run has been scored in 32 of the last 33 innings he has been on the mound.
The 31 year-old may soon have a change of scenery. His name has been prominently mentioned in trade rumors. Although not one reporter asked a question on that topic to Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg after Wednesday’s game, several queries were raised to Hamels.
The veteran pitcher, now in his 10th season with Philadelphia, spoke carefully on the subject, “We all understand what’s going on. We’re trying to develop young, good Phillies ballplayers. They’ve got to make their decision. [It’s an] organization decision. You [the player] don’t really have control of anything.”
As far as he was concerned, he remarked, “I’m just trying to stay healthy, and put up good results for this team. That’s all I’, focused on.”