With an 8-14 record last year, Cole Hamels could be thought of as coming off a bad season for the Philadelphia Phillies as he begins a comeback campaign tonight vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 2008 World Series MVP finished his 2013 season with a 3.60 ERA, and the 8-14 record represented the least amount of wins and the most losses in his career as he received one of the lowest run support averages in the majors.
The better barometer for Hamel, however, was the 3.60. That’s not really a bad ERA. Four other NL pitchers had a winning record in 2013 with an ERA of 3.60 or higher, so the 8-14 is an indication of poor run support on the part of his teammates. For the third time in his career, Hamels finished top 10 in the NL in IP, Ks, K:BB, and QS … with poor run support.
The Phillies were equal opportunity failures at the plate last year, finishing 26 in run production in the league. However, in games where Hamels pitched, they scored one or less runs 12 times. There were plenty of things wrong in the 14 starts Hamels lost a season ago, but one of them was not Hamels — at least most of the time.
For once, Hamels would like to have the kind of run support Cliff Lee had in his opener when the Phillies scored 14 runs. Lee pitched poorly that game, giving up seven but still earning the win, and he’s been stellar since. If Hamels wins a 14-10 game in his opener, it might be a good omen of things to come, and chances are he’ll take it.