Cole Hamels Desperately Needs Run Support

Another excellent Cole Hamels start, another loss. Hamels has been among the best starters in baseball this season, especially since the beginning of May, but his offense couldn’t hit water if they jumped off the Titanic so long as he’s on the mound. The Phillies continued their scoreless streak in Queens, New York — now up to 36 innings thanks to four consecutive shut-outs — and have not scored a run for Hamels since the top of the seventh inning on August 1 against the Washington Nationals. To make matters worse, Hamels was the one batter in the lineup that prevented R.A. Dickey from tossing a no-hitter tonight.

This dearth of run support has become a well-known problem but to truly grasp the issue, it may be best to look at a chart. I tossed Hamels’ basic pitching information into a spreadsheet (innings pitched, earned runs allowed). Then I counted all of the runs the Phillies offense scored in each start while he was the pitcher (excluding innings in which he was pinch-hit for). I converted each column of information into a rate per nine innings, then calculated the differential. Positive is good, negative is bad. Click the chart to view a larger version in a new window. The starts are listed in chronological order, with his first start on the left. His rain-shortened June 1 start has been excluded.

IP RA RS RA/9 RS/9 (RS-RA)/9
5.0 2 6 3.6 10.8 7.2
5.7 4 7 6.3 11.1 4.8
8.0 2 0 2.3 0.0 -2.3
6.0 6 2 9.0 3.0 -6.0
6.0 4 1 6.0 1.5 -4.5
8.0 1 1 1.1 1.1 0.0
5.0 3 4 5.4 7.2 1.8
6.7 2 3 2.7 4.0 1.3
7.0 1 5 1.3 6.4 5.1
6.3 2 0 2.8 0.0 -2.8
8.0 2 0 2.3 0.0 -2.3
7.0 1 4 1.3 5.1 3.9
7.0 3 9 3.9 11.6 7.7
4.0 5 0 11.3 0.0 -11.3
7.0 3 2 3.9 2.6 -1.3
7.0 3 3 3.9 3.9 0.0
7.7 0 1 0.0 1.2 1.2
7.0 1 0 1.3 0.0 -1.3
8.0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0
5.0 3 4 5.4 7.2 1.8
7.0 4 4 5.1 5.1 0.0
7.0 1 0 1.3 0.0 -1.3
8.0 1 0 1.1 0.0 -1.1
153.3 54 56 3.2 3.3 0.1
  • Even differential: 2.4 RA / 2.4 RS (4 starts, 17%)
  • Negative differential: 3.6 RA / 0.7 RS (10 starts, 43%)
  • Positive differential: 3.1 RA / 6.9 RS (9 starts, 39%)

Hamels’ numbers since May 4 (excluding June 1): 122.1 IP, 2.64 ERA, 8.8 K/9, and 2.6 BB/9. He has won only five of those games, lost five, and received seven no-decisions. In that span of time, his offense has only scored four more runs than he has allowed. It’s as if, when Hamels toes the rubber, the offense hits like they’re facing another Hamels.

Lastly, a chart with the raw numbers, in case you’re interested:

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14 comments

  1. FuquaManuel

    August 13, 2010 09:48 PM

    Awful. Awful. Awful.

  2. Drew

    August 13, 2010 10:41 PM

    Speechless. Put me in coach, I’ll put some runs on the board.

  3. Jeff G.

    August 14, 2010 11:09 AM

    can we at least agree that his voice is extremely fruity?

  4. LH

    August 14, 2010 11:16 AM

    Cole has encountered some of the best starts against the Phillies by opposing pitchers.
    This is bad for the Phils and Hamels but on the plus side it gives him a chance to perform against good competition which every athlete enjoys. And now even those fans that were so turned off to him last year are coming around to the realization of how good he is.

    Enjoy reading your column daily.

  5. Richard

    August 14, 2010 02:31 PM

    Segueing from Hamels’ stellar performance last night: Since Victorino’s misplay of David Wright’s liner led to the game’s only run, I’ve been wondering what would happen if the Phillies switched Werth & Victorino in the outfield. Manuel’d never do it, of course, but it seems to me that Werth is a better CF than RF, and a better CF than is Victorino, who’s defense in CF is overrated.

  6. Steve

    August 14, 2010 08:13 PM

    Richard – That’s an interesting idea. Vic of course has experience in RF back from the Aaron Rowand days. Victorino misreads far too many balls in CF, and doesn’t take very good routes on others. It’s really because of his speed that he tracks so many balls down, and fools so many into thinking his defense is better than it is.

    In a more post related comment, the charts so often featured on this blog do a great job of describing what we seem to already know, which in this case is that Cole Hamels can’t buy any run support. Love seeing the numbers though to demonstrate the point, although in this case I wish the numbers were different.

  7. Steve

    August 14, 2010 08:25 PM

    Just a bit more research on the Werth/Victorino idea.

    Werth’s UZR rating in RF: 2008, 12.6, 2009, 7.1, 2010, -4.1
    Werth UZR rating in CF: 2008, 5.1, 2009, -1.1, 2010, 1.0

    Victorino UZR Rating in RF: 2008, -0.4
    Victorino UZR Rating in CF: 2008, 5.5, 2009, -5.8, 2010, -4.6

    For what it’s worth. (small sample size for Werth in CF, btw)

  8. jph89

    August 15, 2010 10:05 AM

    This is just so depressing of just how bad they play when Hamels starts.

  9. Richard

    August 15, 2010 02:11 PM

    Thanks for the data, Steve. I was working off of my rough memory of the UZR, etc, numbers… seems like it’d be worth a shot.

  10. a's fan

    August 15, 2010 10:25 PM

    Bill-

    would love to see your Pen an independent article when you find time about Trevor Cahill’s historic season, the future for him, and the contrast of his BABIP vs. the amount of soft balls hit off his heavy sinker+ A’s outstanding defense.

    Would be a great read to see your take on it if you find the time.

  11. Scott G

    August 15, 2010 10:40 PM

    Yes, we pulled out the win tonight, but why is J.C. Romero on the roster if he’s not going to face three consecutive LHBs?

  12. Bill Baer

    August 15, 2010 11:05 PM

    I was thinking the same thing. That was a great spot to use Romero. However, it was a margin of only two runs… that still makes me nervous given his lack of control.

  13. Scott G

    August 16, 2010 05:50 AM

    I agree. I just get nervous when Lidge faces lefties. He has a career OPS against LHB of .730.

  14. Zach

    August 16, 2010 06:26 AM

    I’m a Yankees fan (dons protective gear) but I feel your pain on this.
    Good pitchers are getting losses they shouldn’t have because the offense can’t deliver. And yet they’re the ones that often get blamed for the loss.
    You can be the best pitcher on earth but if the people holding the bats can’t hit, what can you do?

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