Why Isn’t Hamels So Dominant?

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, June 17, 2009 08:00 AM | Comments: 33
Posts, Raising Questions

HamelsscufflingHere’s something scary: Cole Hamels has finished seven innings in just two of his starts this season. That’s two of 12. Take out the early exits because of injury and you’re still at 20 percent.

That’s unacceptable for a man who’s supposed to give you seven almost every time out. It’s unacceptable for a supposed ace. As a referral note, after 12 starts last season, Hamels saw seven innings nine times.

Is there a problem?

I thought as if Hamels wasn’t getting the swings and misses he used to get. And it’s true, he’s not quite getting the swings he desires. Hitters are swinging at his outside-the-zone offerings just 26 percent of the time, compared to 30 percent the last two seasons. And they’re making more contact outside the zone than ever — 62 percent of the time, compared to 60 percent last season and just 52 percent in 2007. To be short, Hamels is throwing many more hittable pitches outside the strike zone.

There might be a reason for that, too — the fastball has lost some velocity since 2007 (about 92 mph to 90 mph); with that, the changeup has lost about the same amount of velocity (from 82 to 79), and the curveball, too (from 78 to 74). When you lose velocity, your pitches will become easier to hit. And with that, his batting average of balls in play has risen dramatically from .270 to .348 from 2008 to ’09.

Is it luck? Somewhat. But it also shows that the fire Hamels once slung with ease has tempered a bit. Is he capable of big outs? Absolutely. That was seen last night in the sixth inning — three struck balls that tangled in Jimmy Rollins’ glove. Yes he was hit, but the hits were consistent to the defender’s range. Hamels still got out of the jam, making big pitches en route to a pop out, a strike out and a fly out.

Hamels should be okay, but we’ll hold our breaths just a little until he starts dominating for seven and more innings with regularity.

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Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Ed 2

    Rule of 30. A pitcher shouldn’t have an increase of more than 30 innings from their previous season. Hamels pitched over 260 innings last year, that was about 70 innings more than his previous high. He also pitched the second most pitches in baseball last year…only a few behind sabathia i think. He’s worn out.

  • Posts: 0 Groty

    He had no offseason. May sound like an excuse, but…

  • Posts: 0 Geoff

    I also think in baseball you have to improve from one year to the next as a starter or else theyll figure you out. Hamels is still a great pitcher, but he has NOT improved from last year to this one – he is simply the same. Why do you think everyone fouls so many pitches off on him? They wait for the changeup when he gets two strikes (the good hitters do) and then foul it off. Even if they get out theyve make him throw extra pitches.

    When Hamels uses his curveball more and throws it for strikes he is able to be more effective with his changeup and spotting the fastball. Since he hasnt improved his use of the curveball or another pitch, he hasnt really gotten any better. Hes still better than most in baseball, but he has allowed the better hitters to catch up to him and not be AS helpless as they were before. Thats why he has been inconsistent and has only dominated in a few outings.

  • Posts: 0 Mike C.

    the problem is he got a nice contract and in his hollywood head he doesnt have to work hard. cole has alot of potential but not the guy i love. santana is that guy. roy is also. schilling was a horse and had that fire. i miss that. cole is to relaxed.

  • Posts: 0 The Little Guy

    His velocity was low in the beginning of the year. Last night he was throwing 92 with his fastball consistently. To me it’s as simple as he doesn’t have a devastating outpitch. He throws 92, with a change, and a curve he hand throw for a strike consistently.

    Look at Santana, his velocity dropped to where Coles’ is and he’s getting hit all around the park. It’s as simple as that.

  • Posts: 0 The Little Guy

    he can’t**

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Our pitching is in bad shape….. Myers was the only starter with effective outings…up until Blanton started picking it up.

    I’m confident Hamels will get back on track but then again he might not.

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    BTW…..Joe Buck is a complete TOOL. Anyone see Artie Lange rip him on his new show?

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Artie Lange’s the man… Buck=Mangenelli

  • Posts: 0 Mike C.

    Artie is not the MAN. He is a disgrace. Druggy, Drunk and one horrible comedian. Howard Stern has been carrying him to long. The days with Jackie were much better. Buck is a respectable announcer and a good man. Dont get the two mixed up.

  • Posts: 0 Mets Fan

    Ha Ha what a bunch of losers the Phillies are. We won yesterday 6-4 so now we’re only 3 back of you guys. Wow, your bullpen was ambushed yesterday. 8-3 loss at home in EXTRAS to the blue jays. See, how does it feel now when your bullpen blows games. You know I think the teams have switched up. The 2009 Mets are the 2008 phillies. The 2009 Phillies are the 2008 Mets. Last year we had an early division lead but we were blowing games with our bullpen. While your closer was doing great but you were still behind a few games. you also had some injuries. Then you came back and won the NL East and WS. Thats the same thing with the Mets this year. Great closer, injuries and behind a few games. We’ll storm back in August and September to win the NL East and take the WS. you guys had trouble beating us at Citi when we didn’t have Delgado, reyes and putz. When we face you again with these guys the Mets are gonna kick the Phils @ss!! Wow, watch Richmond dominate you guys and Moyer give up tons of homers. Phillies suck for life! Go Mets!!! – On our way to winning the NL East, NL Pennant and World Series

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    I hope no-one here cruises around on Mets blogs leaving that kind of garbage…

  • Posts: 0 Nesto

    Good luck with that.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Yeah, MetsFan…you’re only 3 back. Good for you. BTW, last week…….you COULD have been tied with us at the end of the series if you would have won all three games. But no. You LOST 2 of 3.

  • Posts: 0 Maverick

    Mike C… you are right about Artie but your wrong about Joe Buck…
    The guy sucks and always has.. he should stick to doing rental car commercials…

    he only has a job doing what he’s doing b/c of his dad…. thats unfortunate b/c it takes a job away from someone who probably earned and deserves it…

  • Posts: 0 The Checkered Demon

    Another outstanding analysis. I believe that the Phils really need to get a stud, bull starter to help Hamels. It would cost a lot. And one is not out there for the taking, as I see it. I would go after Jason Marquis if we truly want to stay on top of the division. Also, I would at least talk to Pedro Martinez. What do we have to lose?

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    NJ…I barely have the time to be on THIS blog much less a loser Met’s blog.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    Does anyone else think Team America should be re-edited with the Matt Damon character replaced with Joe Buck…?

  • Posts: 0 Phills fan

    Hamels did his job. Got through 6 innings to get to Durbin (7th), Romero (8th), then Madson (9th). Problem was the Phillies didn’t score runs and Madson was hurt by a infield single and the dreaded guard the line defense.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I am afraid with all these blown saves it will cost us at the end.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Hamels did his job if you assume that the Phils are going to score more runs and keep him in the game. He worked out of some jams well enough but he wasn’t dominating. Too many innings his pitch count was too high and hitters were constantly fouling off pitches. A gutsy enough of a performance but not if you are calling him your ace and the guy that leads your staff into the postseason.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    In my opinion, Hamels is still holding back… he’s not going for the gusto, just yet. I think that he’s still thinking about that elbow and the short offseason and the contract… all of that stuff that everyone else mentioned is subliminally causing him to ease up just a bit. Let me make this clear… until someone proves that there’s something mechanically wrong, there is no one that I would rather have toeing the mound in September because that’s when Hollywood Hamels is at his best.

  • Posts: 0 Lewisauce

    I think it’s simply the short off-season and lack of off-season preparation. I think he has “the fire.” He certainly did in the playoff and WS last year, so I don’t think that’s the issue. I just think he pitched A LOT last year, and then had very little time off, and then didn’t prepare because, by his own admission, he was out whoring (to put it bluntly) himself for every dime he could.

    He’ll be dominant again, but it might not be until next year. I hate to say it, but that’s what I see.

  • Posts: 0 mets rule

    3 back little guy, cat got your tongue?

  • Posts: 0 Brett

    I think Hamels thinks of himself as primarily a strikeout pitcher, however, if you look at his best outings, he pitches for contact and strikeouts. It felt like last night he was trying to strike everyone out, when he could have minimized his pitch count by letting them hit the ball.

    I also think that now that he has won a World Series and got his contract, he’s not as concerned with being that dominant pitcher this year. It doesn’t seem like he’s going out and trying to dominate with every single pitch. The fire isn’t there.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    what curve ball….looks alot like he’s still developing it…bottom line is that he’s essentially a two pitch pitcher as evidenced by the foul balls which occurr when batters are geared to think fastball or change-up

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    The Checkered Demon:
    Finally someone who’s realistic….Marquis..I’d go Cook also….When are Phils fans gonna wake-up about Halladay. If he’s going anywhere its not as far south from Canada as Phiily…Boston or New York (yanks) will be his final destination….Anybody like Josh Johnson….AND NO MORE LEFTIES

  • Posts: 0 BS

    Re: velocity
    To be fair, Hamels’ velocity is probably about the same, if not higher, than it was at this time last year (see here). His velocity increased significantly in the 2nd half of last year, so maybe that’ll happen again this year.

    But yeah, I think in general, he just didn’t prepare like he should’ve in the offseason and is now paying the price. I think he’ll have a pretty good season this year, but it won’t be great. Hopefully he can take it to another level next year.

  • Posts: 0 Matt Kwasiborski

    Halladay for J-Roll, Carasco, Savery and Marson. Donald comes up when healthy to take over the SS position. It has been rumored before that the Jays have asked about J-Roll. A change of scenery would be good for him and reunite him with Rolen :)

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    That is the worst possible move the Blue Jays could ever make.. and they wouldn’t even consider it..

    no soup for you

  • Posts: 0 The Little Guy

    Reunite him with Rolen. Haha.

    Donald would tear it up in the majors, he’s batting .220!

  • Posts: 0 Matt Kwasiborski

    No, the worst possible ever move is trading Halladay for your wife or girlfreind.

  • Posts: 0 Dave S

    I’d rather have one of the Jays’ younger guys. Romero yesterday looked good. Romero would cost less and he don’t have 2600 professional innings under his belt.

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