Double Your Pleasure (written October 1, 2010)

In news that shocked no one but brings with it the ability to possibly infuriate some, the Philadelphia Phillies have recently announced that they will be starting Roy Halladay in game 1 and Roy Oswalt in game 2 of the NLDS. No, this is not necessarily something you should be upset about; the two-headed “roy-monster” is a nasty combination of right-handed power and consistency that is unmatched in major league baseball and Halladay’s position atop one of, if not the best, pitching rotations the franchise has ever had was never questioned. The game 1 announcement was merely a forgone conclusion. However, the most overlooked outcome of pitting a Roy-Roy double team against the seemingly inferior national league opponents is the effect it will have on Cole Hamels. By baseball standards a righty, lefty, righty rotation has always been more sought after than anything else, and the opportunity for such an alignment was staring Charlie Manuel in the face. Why not take advantage of the situation that is being presented?

To say that Hamels has endured a roller coaster career over the last few seasons is an understatement. He was the toast of the town in 2008 as he spearheaded the Phils to their first world series victory in 28 years, only to come back and look relatively awful in 2009; a lackluster effort that led to him being taken down a peg on the totem pole thanks to the addition of Cliff Lee, and ended with him becoming scapegoat number one for many fans who blamed the World Series loss to the Yankees on his inefficiency toeing the rubber.

In the playoffs it was clear to many that the long year itself, the fans’ jeers, and his uninspiring play took a toll on Hamels, a sentiment that could be seen by his attitude on the field, his demeanor in the dugout, and his apathetic words in interviews. It is hard to forget former teammate Brett Myers’ famous comments in the playoffs of 2009 when he reportedly asked Cole why he was still in the locker room, “I thought you quit”, he asked. After the season there were two options for the once heralded star, bounce-back the following season or be run out of town. Obviously he vowed to come back stronger in 2010 with the help of developing and ultimately adding a new pitch to his repertoire in an effort to be less predictable, which he successfully did.

Thankfully, for his sake, he has had a better year than anyone could have foreseen, and what is his reward for his valiant effort? He has been taken down another peg in the rotation. That is not to say Oswalt isn’t a spectacular talent, but even if we were to take the righty vs. Lefty argument off the table it would still make compelling sense to reward the lynchpin of the best Phillies mini-dynasty in history with a home start in the playoffs.

Perhaps the Phillies feel that Cole can perform just as well on the road and therefore will rely on him in game 3, which could be a clincher to move forward, but it still doesn’t exactly justify the step down. Ok, so his record, 12-11, doesn’t jump out at you, but a main reason for that is due to his ERA, 3.09, equaling his run support. Regardless of numbers, because in the postseason everything changes anyway, Cole Hamels should be starting in game 2 of the upcoming NLDS. He’s earned it with his performance this season and his desire to be dominant once again. If we can’t reward the guy for being good than I guess we can no longer victimize him for being bad, right?

    • Nick Corcetti
    • October 1st, 2010

    I think there is an error do you mean putting instead of pitting

    • No, I meant pitting. Seriously Nick? I know you are a numbers guy but c’mon, expand you vocabulary.

        • Nick Corcetti
        • October 1st, 2010

        i dont understand

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