Before September rolled around, Cole Hamels was in ace form as he guided the Rangers rotation
Cole Hamels anchored the Phillies rotation in 2008, and the Rangers called on him to do so once again this year. With Yu Darvish missing nearly all of the first three months of the season, Hamels was the clear ace in the rotation.
After Darvish came off the disabled list in mid-July, Hamels put together an elite run on the mound. In nine starts through August, Hamels struck out more than nine batters per nine innings. He carried a 2.36 ERA and 2.63 FIP through that span.
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At the beginning of September, Bovada listed Hamels as the favorite for the AL Cy Young Award. All Hamels had to do was maintain the course and he could finally bring home his first Cy Young award.
However, this September has been a rough one for Hamels. In four September starts, Hamels walked 12.8% of opposing hitters. While his xFIP (Expected Fielding-Independent Pitching) this month is reasonable at 3.87, his ERA is the highest of any month by far at 6.53.
Hamels was effective in two starts with Texas last year in the ALDS. He walked just 3.6% of opposing hitters and struck out 25.5% with a 2.70 ERA. Unfortunately, Hamels wound up on the wrong end of one of the craziest innings in MLB history. The Blue Jays scored four unearned runs on Hamels, leading to the Rangers losing Game 5 and the series.
With the Rangers spot in the postseason secure, Hamels will need to return to his August form if he wants to take Texas deep into the postseason. I doubt he or anyone else on the Rangers wants a repeat from 2015, and Hamels will do everything to keep Texas’s playoff hopes alive.