I was going to write a limerick about Cole Hamels’s performance in the home opener, but decided to write a post instead.
Yes, Cole gave up a cheapie home run to Nationals left fielder and Sexy Opponent of the Series Josh Willingham in the second inning yesterday. Yes, he had a horrible fourth inning by allowing three runs, and he left two men on base when Chad Durbin came on in relief in the sixth. And yes, the offense bailed his puppy-in-a-backpack ass out once again.
But it wasn’t all bad, and it certainly could have been worse.
After serving up the dinger to Willingham, Hamels would retire his next six batters, including strike outs to Adam Kennedy and Willy Taveras. In the fourth, after allowing a single to Cristian Guzman and then grazing the perky man-tits of Adam Dunn, he managed to strike out Willingham and Ian Desmond. The pitch he struck Desmond out with was clocked at 93 MPH by the radar, so it appears that his velocity is back. In the fifth, he would finally have a 1-2-3 inning, and he would have finished the sixth if not for a Juan Castro error.
Part of our problem as fans is that we’re still comparing the Cole of 2010 to the WFC MVP King Cole of 2008, but I don’t know if that’s a fair comparison. So I went to my favorite baseball-statitics site, Baseball Reference.com, to see how Cole did in his first two starts of last season.
So far in 2010, Cole’s record is 2-0, and he has a mediocre ERA of 5.06. He’s pitched 10.2 innings, allowed seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits, walked five, and struck out eleven. He’s given up two homers.
But at this point in 2009, Cole’s record was 0-2, and his ERA was 11.17. That’s right, Phillies phans. His ERA back then was more than double of what it is now. He allowed 12 runs (all earned) on 19 hits in 9.2 innings of work. He had given up four homers, and only struck out five.
So if we compare Hamels’s first two starts of this season with his first two starts of last season, I’d say that he’s markedly improved. No, he’s not the Cole of 2007 or 2008 yet, but we should keep the pitchforks left over from the Donovan McNabb-era in the shed for the time being, and continue to give Cole his chance for redemption. At least until he really fucks up, anyway.