10/05/09 12:00 AM ET
Hamels eager to return to playoff glory
Game 1 not yet assigned, but southpaw ready if picked
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He built his reputation as a big-game pitcher last October, when he guided the Phillies to their second World Series championship in 126 years. He opened the National League Division Series, Championship Series and World Series, and won each game.
|Rockies' Ubaldo Jimenez||Phils' Cole Hamels|
|2009 REGULAR SEASON|
|Overall||33 GS, 15-12, 3.47 ERA, 85 BB, 198 K||32 GS, 10-11, 4.32 ERA, 43 BB, 168 K|
|Key stat||6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 5 SO, 4 BB, no decision vs. PHI in '07 NLDS||ERA is 11th highest in the National League|
|2009 REGULAR SEASON|
|Career||3 G, 3 GS, 0-1, 2.25||6 G, 6 GS, 4-1, 2.16 ERA|
|AT CITIZENS BANK PARK|
|2009||No games||17 GS, 7-5, 3.76|
|Career||2 GS, 0-1, 8.10||56 GS, 27-17, 3.43|
|AGAINST THIS OPPONENT|
|2009 regular season||No games||1 GS, 0-1, 17.18 ERA|
|Career||2 GS, 0-1, 8.10||1 GS, 0-1, 17.18 ERA|
|Loves to face||Carlos Ruiz, 0-for-3||Jason Giambi, 0-for-4|
|Hates to face||Pedro Feliz, 3-for-4||Garrett Atkins, 2-for-3|
|Why he'll win||9-3, 3.08 ERA since break||He proved to be a big-game pitcher last October.|
|Pitcher beware||.304 batting average against in the first inning||0-2, 7.02 ERA in his last three starts|
|Bottom line||Make big pitch early||Bring back Cole '08|
He won the NLCS clincher in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. He pitched well in the first half of the World Series clincher in Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park, which the Phillies eventually won two days later.
Hamels went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA to become one of just 12 pitchers in baseball history to win four or more games in a postseason. He earned World Series and NLCS Most Valuable Player honors.
He could pitch Wednesday in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Colorado Rockies at the Bank, but the Phillies have not announced it.
"If they asked me, yes," Hamels said. "But I know we have Cliff and even Joe [Blanton] and [J.A.] Happ and even Pedro [Martinez]. We have the type of guys who could start a Game 1 and start the series the right way. And we have guys that can answer that in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
"It's something I was able to do last year. I did it well. It was fun. But you really do have to look at the situation of who's the best pitcher, the hottest pitcher going into that situation. I definitely knew I was there last year. You couldn't take that away from me. But this year, it's been a struggle and I've really had to fight on being able to hold my own and have my good games."
Hamels is 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA, and 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA in his past three starts.
He has looked great at times. He has looked far from great other times.
"Look at my ERA," Hamels said. "I finished the year with a losing record. I'm not too excited about that. There's a lot of things I wasn't able to, but I learned a lot. I think I learned a lot more this year than I have in the last three years of being in the big leagues. That's something you have to take, but you have to use it. If you don't use it, it's just going to keep going down, down. That's not what I try to do. If you want to be a top guy you have to learn from your mistakes and fix them and capitalize on other people's mistakes. Now I have to put it together, but this is the time where everything really matters and really counts."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.