Even before Cole Hamels opened his current season with a quality start in a loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, there were a lot of people who felt sorry for the 2008 World Series MVP of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The thinking there was that Hamels, despite being among last year’s league leaders in quality starts while also pitching over 200 innings, was being robbed by his unproductive hitting teammates on the way to an 8-14 season in 2013. There is some truth to that, but there is also a larger truth: At some point, quality starts are not enough for Cole Hamels and Tuesday night against the visiting New York Mets could be that point.
Hamels earns more than $20 million a year and, for that, he’s going to have to be at least a 14-8 pitcher, not an 8-14 one. If his teammates score one run, it’s his job to shut out the Mets. If his teammates score twice, it’s his job to hold the Mets to one run or less. In other words, he’s going to have to pitch like a winner.
For an example of how that is done, Hamels needs to look no farther than five feet down the locker room to that of teammate Cliff Lee, who despite getting poor run support like Hamels last year, went 14-8 and is off to a winning start this season.
To quote Herman Edwards, “You play the game to win.” For what they pay him, Cole Hamels is going to have to figure out how to win fairly soon.
Beating a hated rival like the Mets would be a good place to start.