Tag Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

Is Cole Hamels The Ace Of The Rangers Pitching Staff?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

Courtesy: Getty Images

New mustache but with the same result.

Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels just keeps on winning and putting on a display in the process. The lefty tossed a gem on Friday night at The Globe against the division rival Los Angeles Angels, not allowing a run in just over seven innings of work while striking out six to run his record to 4-0 on the season.

Hamels missed some time last month due to an oblique injury but took no time at all regaining his form upon return.  He’s won two consecutive starts and had retired 24 straight hitters until giving up a two-out single in the second inning in the win over the Halos.

What’s even more impressive is Hamels has a 26-6 record in 52 regular season starts as a member of the Rangers and the team is 38-14 in those games. Looks like that trade with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015 to bring Hollywood to Arlington in exchange for prospects turned out to be good one for Texas.

So does all this make Hamels the ace of the Rangers staff?

While there is the belief that Yu Darvish is the ace, it’s hard not to argue on behalf of Hamels for that spot. Sure, Darvish is one of the top pitchers in baseball when his stuff is working, but Hamels is that solid rock that finds a way to get the job done more often than not.

Take away last year’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, where both pitchers got bruised by the Jays lineup, and Hamels has the playoff resume that stands out. Hamels is a career 7-6 in the postseason with a 3.48 ERA but two of those losses are with the Rangers. He basically arrived on the scene in 2008 after walking away with the World Series MVP when the Phillies won it all. Hamels threw a total of 35 innings during the postseason, and held opponents scoreless in 28 of them.

Granted, Darvish hasn’t had the postseason opportunities that Hamels had in both Texas and Philly. A career 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in two playoff starts isn’t worth writing home about but it’s a small sample that’s hard to either dismiss or defend.

Plus, Hamels isn’t leaving anytime soon since he’s not a free agent until 2020. Darvish, on the other hand, is a free agent at the end of the season and it remains unclear whether Arlington is the home for Yu after the year.

Right now, Darvish is an All-Star but the nod may go to Hamels as the ace. Let the debate continue on.

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Hamels Focusing On Returning To The Mound

Rangers Cole Hamels

Courtesy: Getty Images

If the Texas Rangers get back into the A.L. West race, they will do it without Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels, at least for a couple of months.

The lefty is on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle suffered earlier this month.

“It takes a little time to get over the initial disappointment,” said Hamels. “It’s not fun. As much as being able to root your teammates on every four days, then it kind of gets to the five or six weeks, it’s a long, long time.”

Prior to a scheduled start in Houston against the division-leading Astros, Hamels began feeling pain in his oblique while warming up in the bullpen. Alex Claudio made the emergency start instead as Hamels returned to Arlington for further examination when the strain was discovered.

“It was painful when it happened and I think the case is when it does happen, you know what you did,” said Hamels. “It feels like a knife in your back.”

Hamels is a top-20 pitcher in baseball so the loss hurts. He was 2-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts prior to the injury. The Rangers will definitely need other starting pitchers to step up in his place until his return. It’s a great chance for Yu Darvish to take off and show his stuff as the ace of the staff, especially during a contract year.

The Rangers go into Tuesday night’s game at The Globe against the Philadelphia Phillies riding a six-game winning streak. During that time, Texas raised their overall record to 19-20 and sit third in the division, a percentage point behind the Los Angeles Angels for second place.

The good news is that despite being a game under .500, the Rangers are just two games out of the Wild Card race. On the flip side, they are eight games behind the Astros in the division. Granted, it’s only May and there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played.

What will help is having a healthy Hamels down the stretch once he’s able to return. As for the here and now, the focus is getting back on the field.

“The frustration and disappointment is over and now I’ve got to move forth and just try to get myself healthy and get back out there,” said Hamels. “I think like anything that kind of occurs that’s unexpected you just want to go out there and be 100 percent when I’m actually ready.”