The Phillies are poised to win only one more game, and it will mean a return to the World Series. That's not easy to do, and I think most people thought they wouldn't be in this position this year. The season was a long one, the pitching staff this year went through much of the season not really doing too well. World Series MVP in 2008, Cole Hamels, didn't that great of a regular season record wise in 2009 and I thought it would be interesting to look back at all of his starts during the regular season and break them down game by game. He's pitching tonight and the series can end tonight in Philly, which is what the Phils would prefer to give them a rest before the World Series and prevent them from having to go West to LA again and extend the NLCS giving the Dodgers a chance to creep back in.
Cole started off the season with his first two starts giving up 7 ER and 5 ER in the first two games he pitched. That's usually not good, and Cole ended up losing only the first game. On Cole's third start of the regular season in 2009, there was reason to believe that something was different with him and the difference wasn't good. Cole's third start ended early with 3.1 IP and throwing 45 pitches versus Milwaukee after Prince Fielder hit a line drive off of Cole's shoulder forcing him to leave the game. He got the loss in this game as well, as the Phillies went on to lose 6-1 to the Brewers on this day. Cole's 4th start should have been his first win of the year, but he sprained his ankle in the 5th inning and had to come out of the game even though the Phils were cruising 5-0 at that point. Cole would end up 0-2 during April.
Cole then reeled off 4 wins in his next 6 starts, getting no decisions in his games that were very close with the LA Dodgers and the NY Yankees, both teams that we know now to have made it deep into the postseason. His fourth win of the year came against the Dodgers when he went the distance in the game in LA, pitching a 3-0 shutout on June 4th.
Cole was on a roll but his next 5 starts after the win in LA on June 4th would end up with 3 losses. It started off with two no decisions in starts 11 and 12 for Cole. The interleague series which the Phillies did poorly with this season showed up in Coles next two starts with him getting losses against Baltimore and Toronto, taking us to the end of June in what might have been the lowest point for the Phillies all season up to that point. In 15 interleague games from June 12th to June 28th, the Phillies team only won 4 games and it really looked as if they were in doubt to even make the playoffs at that point. This slide led to the Phillies being tied for first place by July 2nd.
Back to Cole's starts, and it took a month for Cole to get his next win after June 4th with the Phillies incredible 22-1 win July 6th vs. Cincinnati. This win took Hamels to 5-5 on the season through his first 16 starts. The next two starts after the All Star Break saw Cole get no decisions in games he started that the Phillies actually won 8-7 and 6-5. Cole ended up in July getting two wins against San Diego and Arizona. He ended up July with a 7-5 record and things started looking up for him record wise at this point.
Then there was the month of August for Cole. He looked as if he would keep the momentum going that he had carried with him at the end of July but this was not to be. Cole started 5 games in August, and three of them ended up in losses, and 2 ND. The Phillies didn't seem to score an abundance of runs for him in these starts.
Fast forward to September now and Cole pitched a dandy 1-0 win with a shutout against the San Francisco Giants. Again the team didn't score for Cole, and this was the first 1-0 win of the year for the team. The only other time the team won 1-0 this year was September 13 vs. the New York Mets when Pedro got the win for the Phils. Both 1-0 wins came at home for the Phillies this year. Cole finished out the season after the San Francisco win with 2 wins and 3 losses in his last 6 starts. His record at the end of the season stood at 10-11 and with this behind him, it's onto tonight in Philly for him to win the NL Crown for the Phillies and the second straight trip for the Phillies to the World Series.