Saturday, October 31, 2009

Game 3 - It's Cole's Time

Cole Hamels has become an enigma. While we continue to love and support him each time out there, we aren’t sure from start to start what we are going to get. Tonight, he takes the mound against the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the World Series.

It was apparent early that 2009 was going to be a different year for Cole Hamels. After two months he had an ERA of 5.21. He had an ERA below 4.00 in only two months this year (June and September). While his K/9 rate and K/BB rate both increased, his BAA went up almost 50 points (to .273 from .227). And he actually gave up four fewer home runs, albeit in one less start, than in 2008.

So what is wrong with Cole Hamels? He says it is just a matter of hitting his spots, putting guys away and staying out the big inning. Honestly, I think it's something different.

Hamels is incredibly cocky and confident, something that he fed off of on last year's amazing playoff run. He knew that each time he took the mound, he was not going to just pitch well, he was going to dominate. He had tasted nothing but success in his career, becoming a playoff ace and World Series MVP before his 25th birthday.

2009, however, has been different. He's struggled and he can't figure out why (no matter what he tells the media). You could see, after Chase Utley's error in Game 1 of the NLCS, that Hamels just couldn't believe this is happening to him. It seems that every bloop hit falls in, every routine fly ball leaves the park and every grounder finds a hole. Now, that isn't the case, but pitching is an incredibly mental game, so perception can sometimes become reality. For Hamels to rebound, I think it's all mental.

Will he rebound tonight? I honestly can't answer that. But know this: Tonight isn't about Andy Pettitte or A-Rod. It's not about Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. It's not even about Jimmy Rollins or Ryan Howard. Tonight is about Cole Hamels. Game 3 rides on his performance, and he knows it. Tonight, for Cole, is all about redemption.

Best of luck, #35. Go Phils.

1 comment:

  1. It was about home runs and defeat! Sad day in Philly! Heavy B as a series stopper? I don't think happy thoughts about that. CC coming for redemption... from game 1? from last year? Either way I'm worried... and very very affraid!