Hamels shows old form on moundby Eric Schwartz
I believe it is foolish to get wrapped up in Spring Training statistics, particularly when they come from players who have already secured roster spots.
When a player goes through an 0-for 10 stretch at the plate, it’s not something that gets me worked up, and likewise if a young player goes through a 7-for-10 stretch I don’t jump to the conclusion that the Phillies have the next great thing on their hands.
But once in awhile I see something in Spring Training that holds my attention. Today Cole Hamels did exactly that.
The notion that the Phillies chances of winning a second World Series in three years hinges on Hamels being the pitcher of 2008 and not the sub-.500 one of 2009 has been exhausted to death. so I am not going to go into it. Phillies fans know Hamels has to pitch better and become a strong No. 2 behind Roy Halladay. What they want is to see it.
Today we got a taste.
Hamels retired the first nine batters he faced and struck out four in a 3 2/3 innings appearance in the Phillies 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. It wasn’t all good news for the young left-hander, as he did give up a solo home run and walked a pair, but the fact that he was able to find a groove is a good sign for the team. Hamels is experimenting with a couple pitches so he could be excused for some troubles, but they have yet to show themselves this Spring.
It was only 3.2 innings and it’s only Spring Training, but Hamels took a step forward in what will be a long quest to prove that an ugly 2009 is behind him.
It should be noted that while Hamels was showing he was ready to be a top of the rotation pitcher, former Phillies prized prospect Kyle Drabek was giving the Blue Jays a taste of why they traded Halladay. Drabek started the game and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing just a hit and a walk. Not much was hit hard against Drabek as five of the six outs came on ground balls.
Like with Hamels, it is much to soon to predict what this season will hold for Drabek.
But for today, the results were very positive.