This week’s spotlight is on the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Hamels was among the group of starting pitchers to get two starts during the first week of the 2015 season. Unfortunately for the left-hander, Hamels was the recipient of very little support and stands with a 0-1 record after week one. The big question that will hover over Hamels this season is where exactly the support will come from when he takes the ball every fifth day.
On Opening Day, Hamels took on the Boston Red Sox. Throughout the winter, there was some speculation that Hamels would be making this start, but for the visitors. Ultimately no trade has been made involving Hamels, at least not yet. In the start, he tossed five innings but was done in by the long ball allowing four home runs to the Red Sox. Backing their starter, the Phillies tallied zero runs against Clay Buchholz in the loss.
Over the weekend, Hamels made start number two also at home against division rivals, the Washington Nationals. In his seven innings of work, the command was much better for Hamels. He allowed just two hits in the outing, but one of them once again left the yard. While the Phillies did come away with the win, they once again failed to provide a single run while Hamels was in the game. In total for the week, Hamels turned in 12 innings pitched allowing five earned runs all on solo home runs, while receiving zero runs scored in support.
After this week the two causes for concern for Hamels are clearly giving up the long ball, and the run support. Down the road, if Hamels eventually does join a contender, games down the stretch will be pressure packed with runs at a premium. One mistake or one home run allowed could cost him a win to potentially get into the playoffs or even during the playoffs.
In terms of run support, with the struggling offense in Philly this could become an unfortunate trend for Hamels every fifth day. Because of that, with each start the room for error is much smaller. Perhaps with a trade, Hamels will be placed on a contender with an offense that will be much more capable of providing significant run support when it is his turn in the rotation. With making his first two starts of the year at home, the question is just how many of those starts does Hamels have left in his future. Cole Hamels will be in the spotlight to see if he can not only cut down on giving up the long ball, but to also see just how long it will take before he is back pitching for a contender that will back him with some runs on the scoreboard.