3. Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Game 5 of the 2008 World Series
This game couldn’t be left off the list, even though Hamels finished with a stat line far from his most impressive work. He was robbed of a chance to be the winning pitcher of the World Series clincher by a suspect decision to continue the game through severe weather.
Hamels pitched five innings of one-run ball before surrendering the tying run in a sixth inning that should’ve never taken place prior to the infamous two-day rain delay. He still won the MVP honors he deserved, despite earning the no-decision.
2. Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Game 1 of the 2008 World Series
The Phillies were able to line up Hamels, the NLCS MVP, to pitch Game 1 by cruising to a victory in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the NL pennant.
A two-run homer by Utley in the top half of the first gave Hamels a lead before he took the mound in Tampa. Despite allowing one run in the fourth and another in the fifth, he recovered to make it through seven. Handing it off to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge had become almost automatic by that point, and the Phillies took Game 1 on the road by a score of 3-2.
1. Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers: Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS
The Phillies were swept out of the 2007 postseason by the Colorado Rockies in the NLDS. Hamels was solid in his only start in the series, but the overall lackluster effort from the team needed to be corrected immediately entering the 2008 postseason.
Hamels dominated the Brewers in Game 1 to announce that the Phillies wouldn’t go quietly again. He pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine. The victory seemed even bigger considering that the red-hot C.C. Sabathia loomed for Milwaukee in Game 2.
The win kickstarted the greatest individual pitching performance in a single postseason in the history of the franchise.