By FRANK WARD
Cole Hamels, the onetime ace and World Series MVP for the Philadelphia Phillies, has officially regained the form that made him the centerpiece of the Phillies rotation just two years ago.
A season removed from a career-high 4.32 ERA and a 10-11 record, Hamels has pitched well in eight of his nine last starts. In that stretch, he has not allowed more than three earned runs in a game, although he allowed three in two-thirds of an inning in Atlanta on June 1.
On April 28, Hamels went to sleep with an ungodly 5.28 ERA. Tonight, he’ll travel to Manhattan with a sub 4.00 ERA. In fact, he’s allowed just 15 earned runs in his last 48.2 innings.
Going into the season, many said Hamels was the key to the Cliff Lee deal and the Phillies season. The theory was the Phils could trade Lee because they expected Hamels to rebound and fill the No. 2 spot behind Roy Halladay.
Early on, that didn’t appear to be the case. Now, Hamels is the least of the Phils concerns. Instead, getting him run support is an issue.
Coming into Sunday’s 5-3 win against Boston, Hamels had lost his last three. However, in games against the Padres and Mets, Cole had given up a total of four earned runs. The Phils offense gave him one run in the two outings combined.
If Hamels can keep this up, nobody can blame the Phils lack of wins on dealing Lee. That’s not to say the Phillies are a better team without Lee. However, Hamels has picked up the slack and then some. Now, if the team could just hit more consistently.