What Clicked For Hamels?

You know the story by this point in the season: Cole Hamels had himself a bumpy ride through April and May, limping into the summer with a 4.86 ERA, a five- and six-walk game to his name and four starts of five earned runs or more. There were a couple good starts thrown in to mitigate the pain, but you won’t hear too many apologies about that collection of 12 starts from me.

The assumption, though, was always that Hamels would rebound. And rebound he has! With an 18-start stretch of a 2.62 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 127 innings, Cole has comfortably put his out-the-gate stumbles behind him. And that’s good, because Hamels Complainers are the worst.

What’s the deal, though? What was wrong in April and May that has been corrected since? Let’s find out together.

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Out of Position

I was talking with a friend recently and I mentioned that I couldn’t remember a team that used so many players out of their normal positions. The Phillies broadcast put up this list during the September 2 game against the Nationals:

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Killing Two Birds with One Stone

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll continue to hear about it — at least here — as long as the Phillies continue to ignore the obvious: Ryan Howard needs to have a platoon partner at first base. Prior to suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee earlier this season, Howard had been performing well against opposite-handed pitching (.878 OPS) but not so much against same-handed pitching (.539). Howard’s shoddy performance against lefties has been a growing problem since 2010. Perhaps pressured by a need to justify Howard’s five-year, $125 million contract extension, the Phillies have never budged on their view of Howard as a full-time player.

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