Cole Hamels continues to pitch better with each outing, but the results are unfortunately the same. The $144-million ace can't buy a win. Hamels pitched his best game of the season Monday night.
Hamels gave up just one run on two hits in seven superb innings. He pounded the plate, with 80-percent of his pitches landing for strikes. He threw first pitch strikes to 22 of the 24 Nats he faced. He struck out eight. He did everything except win.
"You just go out there and try to focus," Hamels said.
Hamels has done a remarkably good job doing just that in this lost season. Back in 2009, Hamels reacted poorly when things didn't go his way. That's not so this season.
Hamels is 6-13, but he has been tremendous since May. It's just an odd season for the one-time World Series MVP. The way he's pitching he could finish close to a 3.00 ERA in what will be his worst win/loss record.
"That's why those stats are so deceiving," a NL scout said. "After getting off to a rough start, Hamels has pitched great. Can you imagine what his record would be if he was with the Dodgers or the Red Sox? Forget the wins and the losses. It's just that the Phillies don't get any runs for him."
The numbers don't lie. No regular starter has received less run support than Hamels.
"It's hard to explain when you look at his numbers.," Jayson Werth said. "It's just been a tough year for Cole."
Lee was 6-9 with a 3.16 ERA last season. His ERA was 11th-best in the NL, but Lee didn't win a game until July 4 in 2012.
"You can't worry about things you can't control," Lee said. "You only can focus on what you can do. When I look back at last year, all I can say is that it was a very strange one for me. When you look at Cole this season, he's having a very strange season. All you can do is pitch as well as you can and then start over next season."
Lee did just that and he's 11-6 with nearly the same ERA (3.09) as last season with a worse team.
"Baseball is a funny game," Werth said. "You never know what's going to happen. That makes it interesting."