Cole Hamels demonstrated that he meant business last night, pitching a complete game 1-0 shutout in which he gave up only two hits and one walk--the only baserunners for the Giants for the whole game--and had 9 strikeouts. Hamels needed less than 120 pitches to go the distance, and he was nothing short of spectacular.
This performance comes on the heels of his last start, when he pitched 8 shutout innings against Pittsburgh before the bullpen blew the game for him. He has shaved half a run off of his ERA in those last two starts, and he looks like the World Series MVP again. It's taken him a big chunk of the season to get on track, but if these last two outings are an indicator of what we can expect the rest of the way, a post-season rotation of Hamels, Cliff Lee, and either J. A. Happ or Joe Blanton looks very, very good from where I sit.
Keep up the good work, Cole.
I'm a little worried about the offense, which hasn't been managing many runs lately; the Phils have been winning with good pitching for the last week or so. The night's only run was the result of a Ryan Howard double (he actually had two doubles for the game), and that run stood up. The Giants are a good team--and a potential first round playoff opponent--and the Phillies had better start scoring runs again if they hope to have a chance to win the whole thing again.
All things considered, though, I can't be too unhappy with a win after a performance like the one that Cole Hamels gave last night.