Tuesday, September 1, 2009

King Cole starts off September right

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Welcome back, Cole Hamels from 2008. It's been a while since you've graced us with your presence!

Hamels, who as you remember was the World Series MVP last year, has been anything but impressive this season, posting an ERA above 4.50 and a record that has hovered around .500 all season long. To say that Hamels has been a disappointment all season would be an understatement. That all may have changed on Tuesday night against the Giants, however, as Hamels put together his best start of the season, a complete game 2-hit shutout, in the Phillies 1-0 win.

Although it was against a very weak Giants lineup, Hamels was dominant all night, striking out 9 and at one point retiring 21 straight batters. Hamels even added to his performance with a stolen base, the first for any Phillies pitcher since 1997, and a sacrifice bunt.

While I am hesitant to say he's fully back, it is safe to say that the Cole Hamels from 2008 showed up on Tuesday night. That the Giants lineup he faced was below average isn't really an issue; the fact is that Hamels would have shut down the majority of the teams in the league with the way he pitched tonight. With Hamels looking strong and Brad Lidge showing hints that he is back to his 2008 form, the Phillies have all of the pieces coming together, and at just the right time. You add a resurgent Lidge and a dominant Hamels to Cliff Lee and the potent Phillies offense, you have the makings of another World F'n Champion.