Cole Hamels made one mistake. It was a fastball to that Ike Davis smoked over the fence in right field to put the Mets up, 2-0. Luckily for the Phillies, that gaffe happened in the first inning. After that, Hamels was game on.
“I made one bad pitch,” Hamels said. “It was the first inning, so I knew there was a lot of game left and a lot of pitches left.”
Hamels (1-1, 3.65 ERA) emptied the holster all afternoon and baffled the Mets by using all four of his pitches — cutter, change, curve, fastball — effectively and efficiently. When he finally hit the showers after the seventh inning, the lanky lefty had surrendered just those two, first-inning runs, while striking out 10. It was the 19th time in his career that he had recorded double-digit strikeouts.
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“I’ve become very good at putting it behind you and starting over. No matter what occurred, I need to get the next guy out,” Hamels said. “I think I’ve learned that the hard way. It’s something where you just have to keep plugging away. If you’re able to do that, and keep the intensity and the focus, then you’re going to be able to pull away and have games like this.”
For whatever reason, when No. 35 takes the hill, the bats go to sleep. Since 2009, Hamels ranks 67th out of 90 starting pitchers in run support, at a miniscule 4.3 runs per game. Maybe Hamels needs to start taking the boys out for steak dinners.
Two of those boppers, Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix, provided the fireworks against the Mets. Both players are new to the Phillies, but both wasted no time heaping praise upon Hamels.
“Cole pitched a great game, kept it close, so we could bust it open with a couple of timely hits. Credit him,” Nix said, without being prompted.
“Cole was the whole reason why we won today’s game,” Wigginton said. “He gave up those two runs and then pretty much shut the door on them.”
Hamels threw 102 pitches and never seemed to break a sweat. He was cheered wildly when he was introduced and every time he stepped to the plate at another packed house at Citizens Bank Park. Each one of those darts — and each one of those cheers — surely were heard in the team’s front office. You see, Hamels is still without a long-term contract.
But forget about that, or anything else, being a distraction. Hamels learned a long time ago to compartmentalize that stuff. Or, as he is fond of saying, “to keep gridning.”
“You can’t let things distract you. You have to pull together with your catcher and execute pitches one at a time,” he said. “It’s a long season. You’re going to have a lot of innings, a lot of outs. If you’re able to stay healthy, then you can put up some good numbers.”