Whom Can We Trust? – Phillies Nation

Whom Can We Trust?

I’m not that easily shocked, but something happened to me Wednesday night that I think bears repeating here. I was at a bar with a couple friends, when, realizing that the famed “Pitchers and Catchers” was only a couple weeks away, I let out a sigh and said, almost without thinking, “God, I’m ready for baseball season to start again.”

Three tables away, a man overheard my comment, came over my table, and almost without warning launched into a three-minutes of some of the most hateful invective I’ve ever heard about one Cole Hamels. I began offering some counter-arguments (“Cole was distracted with the new wife and baby” and “Cole was unlucky with his high BABIP”), but this man was hearing nothing of it. He didn’t hear me, because he was screaming so loud and not stopping to breathe, and even if he had, I don’t think he would have cared much about the fact that Cole allowed two more hits per 9 innings in 2009 than 2008, despite almost all other peripheral stats remaining the same.

It occurred to me that the Phillies’ ascendancy in 2007 and 2008 was due in large part to three players who, for whatever reason, were all just abject disappointments in 2009. These three–Jimmy Rollins, Hamels, and Brad Lidge, will all be back in prominent roles in 2010. I don’t think it’s fair to blame these three for the failure to repeat (after all, a lot of things went wrong in that World Series), but I do think it would help if the Phillies had a leadoff hitter with an OBP over .300, a No. 2 starter who’s somewhat more consistent than two-hit shutout one night, then 7 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings five days later, and a closer who’s not having literally the worst year ever for a full-season closer.

So from these three stalwart Phillies, what can we expect? Whom can we trust?

Jimmy Rollins
J-Roll is my favorite Phillie of all time. Yeah, I’m willing to say that. He’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the game, one of the best basestealers (by percentage as well as volume), and he has good power for a shortstop (about 20 homers and 40 doubles a year). However, he’s never hit .300 in a full season (even in his MVP year he hit .296) and he’s never had an OBP above .350, which, combined with his power, leads me to believe that the leadoff spot might not actually be the best place for him.

But will he replicate last year, when, up until the All-Star break, he was a faster, better-groomed Eric Bruntlett? I say no, because since 2004, he’s been remarkably consistent, throwing up .290/.340/.450 seasons like clockwork, with the exception of 2007, when his slugging percentage jumped about 50 points from 2006 and he won the MVP. Even post-All-Star last year, his batting average jumped 50 points from the first half and his slugging percentage jumped 150 points. But his OBP, even in the second half, was still only .306, which leads me to wonder if J-Roll might be done as a leadoff hitter. He’s still an incredibly valuable player, with his power, speed, and defense, but as little as he walks (and, at 31 on Opening Day, we can probably expect him to start declining slowly in the next couple years), he might be better-suited to hit 6th in the order if his batting average continues to slide. We’ll see. I think expecting a second-half Rollins all year next year is reasonable.

Cole Hamels
This post over at The Fightins pretty much sums up how I feel about Cole Hamels in 2009. It’s a great read, and very thought-provoking, and I’m not just saying that because they quote my friend and colleague Paul Boye liberally in the piece. For those of you without the time and inclination to click the link, here’s a brief summary. Much of pitching is luck. You can give up a 390-foot fly ball or a liner hit right on the screws and it can be an out depending on whether it’s hit at a fielder or not. As we so often on ESPN, the difference between an out and a double is often how well the fielder reads the ball off the bat. The pitcher can control strikeouts, walks, and home runs, and to a certain extent, whether the hits he gives up are ground balls, fly balls, or line drives. With that said, the biggest difference statistically between Cole Hamels 2008 and Cole Hamels 2009 was that kind of luck.

He kept striking people out at the same rate, walking people at the same rate, giving up the same percentages of grounders, line drives, fly balls, and pop-ups. But while in 2008 the only way to score against Cole Hamels was with the two solo homers a game he was good for, in 2009, he gave up a phenomenal number of dying quails, Texas Leaguers, and broken-bat toppers for hits.

But while I said that luck was the biggest factor in Cole Hamels’ disappointing 2009, I didn’t say only. When things were going well, he was still the same, and you got that brilliant complete-game shutout in Dodger Stadium on less than 100 pitches. But when those cheap bloopers started falling in, you could almost visibly see the wheels falling off. This is what happened in Game 3 of the World Series, incidentally. While 2008 Hamels would have shaken off the A-Rod Camera Homer and gotten on with his night, 2009 Hamels went to pieces.

I suspect that part of this was due to Cole Hamels becoming a father for the first time at age 25 during the playoffs. I don’t fault him if his head was miles away during the playoffs–mine would have been too. I suspect that part of this was, yes, due to the lost focus and band conditioning while he was doing Letterman and the banquet circuit in the offseason, and letting his wife slowly emasculate him in magazine condominium ads.

So what do I think for 2010? I think Cole (whom we haven’t heard much from since that Game 3, by the way) has gone to Tibet or something to train without distractions. I think he’s learned from what worked in 2007-08 and what didn’t work in 2009. I think he’s taken the Lee/Halladay hoopla to heart. I think he’s going to come back, at 26, in eff-you mode, possibly with a third effective pitch, and break off 200 strikeouts, an ERA at or below 3.00, and, if the stars of run support and the bullpen align, make a run at 20 wins. I think he’ll make some Cy Young noise. There’s no way he’s that unlucky again for a whole season, and there’s no way he’s that unfocused all season again. I think the Cole Hamels of 2010 will be arrogant, rejuvenated, and effective.

Brad Lidge
In baseball, people say “best ever” or “worst ever” far too often. But Brad Lidge’s 2009 was an unmitigated disaster, a test case in which we find out what a pitcher with an average fastball and a devastating slider turns into when he’s suddenly a pitcher with a terrible fastball and a league-average slider. Suddenly, the walks, which aren’t an issue when you’re giving up two-thirds of a hit an inning and striking out double digits every nine innings, lead to blown save opportunities and, by my estimation, a difference of as much as eight game in the standings.

Here’s what we know. Brad Lidge was never completely healthy in 2009. We know this because he went on the DL mid-season and wasn’t any better when he came off, plus he’s had two different surgeries this offseason. The second, a knee operation three weeks ago, should rule him out for Opening Day. Good. I don’t want him rushed back. I want him to take far too long to rehab the knee, not because I don’t want him on the roster, but I don’t want 80 percent of Brad Lidge early on at the price of not having any kind of effective Brad Lidge later.

So if keeping him out until May means we get a decent closer for the second half of the season and the playoffs, I’m all for it.

But what kind of closer will he be? I know this sounds like a cop-out, but about halfway between 2008 Lidge and 2009 Lidge. First, it’s hard to get any worse than Brad Lidge in 2009. But even as he gets older, and his fastball starts to lose a little zip, I think that, when healthy, he’s a good closer. And we could have used a closer of any kind last year, even one who’s just “good.”

So there go three of the biggest question marks for 2010. Have a pleasant weekend, brothers and sisters, and stay strong–only 12 more days until pitchers and catchers report.



  1. Phillygirl17

    February 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I agree with everything said. I have been saying pretty much everything about Hamels and Lidge all off-season.

  2. The Dipsy

    February 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Well…..I’m gonna say it. Cole is somewhat of a sissy. There was the time when he cried about the Phillies having no chiropractic facilities for his tender back. He makes no bones about the fact that he prefers NOT to go one second off his regular pitching schedule lest he feel a widdle uncomfortable. He has a long neck with a prominent Adam’s apple (and we all know what that means). He’s living proof that even total dweebs can get hot wives if they are athletes. In the post season last year, when he was busy hanging curves and change ups, he threw a snit when an outfielder made an error. His voice is kinda winey and borders on lispy. He’s not a #1 because he is not hewn from stopper/bell cow/ace timber. At best, he will always be the Watson to someone’s else’s Holmes. He is who Ricky Bo refers to when he evokes the term “princess”.

    My suggestions: Cut your hair and get rid of the bangs. You’re not 12. Grow a goatee. Start headhunting a little bit. Punch someone. Truth be told, he needs a little bit a Brett Myers in him.

    The Dipsy

  3. D_Bloc

    February 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm


    Wow that got me fired up. I love it!

  4. Keith E

    February 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    This is no BS. Brooks and I were in a bar last night with the same d-bag! (figuratively not literally) We also were talking about the same three players and their impact on the 2009 season. Too weird!
    G) PHILS!!!

  5. bfo_33

    February 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Jimmy Rollins is one of the best defensive shortstops in the league, and a threat with the bat. He fell into the role of lead-off because we had no one else at the time. I don’t recall ever seeing a post supporting him at lead-off. I’d love to see Vic there, move Rollins to 6th. Hopefully, Charlie can get through the ego and make it happen. Though he has his his faults, one of my favorite all time Phils behind Manny Trillo and John Kruk (don’t ask me why).
    Cole will bounce back. With all he went through in the past two years, including pitching 35% more innings than he ever has in his life in 2008, the slump is understandable. His biggest problem is that he isn’t that likable (seems like a whiner, soft spoken, effiminate), otherwise he’d have more people rooting for him. I also think he is a lot tougher than he lets on, and expect him to win 17 games with a ERA @ 3.6. He will get a huge benefit following Doc.
    Lidge is a coin flip. So much of closing is mental. When things are going well, the dings colelcted over a season are worked through. When they are not, it destroys the whole mental aspect. I’m hoping for the best, but nothing will surprise me. Based on his recent string of doing well in even years, I expect 40 saves, 5 blown, a sub 3 era.

  6. George

    February 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Are you sure the Dipsy wasn’t the one who accosted you, Michael. His posts are always hateful when it comes to Hamels.

    Hamels may not resemble The Dipsy’s idea of a stud, but he did come back from a broken pitching arm, pitched a game with a cut hand, and has come back from elbow issues more than once. He has a bad back, hence the need for a chiropractor (and I don’t recall any whining, just a request for one), and he’s certainly not the only pitcher who likes a routine schedule.

    The “lispy” voice comment could be offensive to anyone with speech difficulties. And call me stupid, because I have no idea what a long neck and large Adam’s apple is supposed to mean.

    Hamels can look any way he wants, have any kind of wife he can get, and wear his hair in a ponytail for all I care. Those things have nothing to do with pitching.

  7. Red McNertney

    February 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Sad but true, many fans here in Philly are way too passionate. They are offbalanced mentally because this area is such a crap hole. Even though I love it here, the city and a lot of the suburbs are dumps that breed rats. Also, a lot of the idiots that religiously comment on the Phils are mental. In fact, the great East Coast (and I truly love the entire East Coast especially Philly) is way too crowded for people to live healthy, normal lives. Too much stress, traffic, aggression. We should all chill and realize that despite our love for it, IT IS JUST BASEBALL. If only I could take my own advice. I have encountered more than one emotional confrontation over sports team and individual players. Too Much.

  8. Paul Boye

    February 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    So after one season of bad luck that follows two seasons of stellar pitching, the guy is a bust at age 26.

    Calm down, man. The guy has the most talent this organization has produced on the mound since Randy Wolf, and with the potential to be far greater.

    One season does not a career make. The comments about his looks are totally disingenuous.

  9. Heather

    February 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I dislike Hamels a great deal (though I would never scream obscenities about him in a bar.) I think he obviously has a lot of talent and I respect him for that, and the hard work he has put in over the years to become a major league pitcher. That being said, I find his attitude on the mound to be distasteful. If everything is going his way, Hamels is a stud. If a little blooper falls in, or a fielder makes an error, Hamels gets petulant and throws a tanrum. You can almost see him out there thinking, “I don’t even know why I try. Everything always goes against me. Fine, I’ll throw this next pitch, and it’ll be great, but the batter will hit it for a home run. Or it’ll be a great pitch and Howard will bobble an easy out. I don’t know why things have to be so difficult for me.”

    I find that kind of attitude appalling in a high schooler, let alone a wannabe-MLB ace. Bottom line, baseball is about entertainment. It is not entertainment to watch someone paid millions of dollars a year to throw tantrums on the mound. Thousands of people would trade places with Hamels in a second, but he’s out there telegraphing that he would rather be anyplace else but on the mound when things aren’t going his way.

    Hamels needs to spend time with a sports psychologist to work these issues out….but I doubt he will, because that will mean admitting he has a problem rather than just he is “unlucky” or “the fielders let him down” or whatever.

  10. TBT

    February 5, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I’m completely baffled by the lack of confidence in Cole Hamels. He’s going to bounce back and be the #1A to Doc’s #1+.

    Jimmy’s Jimmy. He’ll never be the prototypical leadoff guy but he’s a dynamic offensive force when he’s not slumping. Of course, his defense is impeccable.

    Lidge causes me the greatest concern. After a ridiculous 2008 season, I’m worried about his ability to return to top form (not that I expect him to be perfect) after last year’s mess of a season.

  11. Don M

    February 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    This is the problem ……. Hamels CARRIED US to a World Series title.. and in doing so, he threw 40% ? more innings than he ever has before … because of that increase in innings, a much longer season, and earlier Spring Training (due to the World Baseball Classic). .. . along with all the demands and interviews that came with the World Series title

    —smart money was not on Cole Hamels to have a great 2009 season . . . there were even multiple articles written about the fact that his increase-in-innings alone would cause him to falter

    People are dumb.. and that is the reason athletes have hated playing in Philadelphia for so long

    The guy that you met at the bar is the typical “what have done for me lately” fan.. He probably started watching the Phillies again at the end of 2007, and now repeats anything he hears on 610WIP (those guys who also happened to start paying attention to the Phillies at the end of 2007)

  12. Andrew

    February 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I really do nto like Cole. I am fine with Jimmy and everyone else including Lidge. The wa Hamels was and handled himself leave a bad taste in m mouth. Something that can only be cleansed witha 20 win season. Short of that I sill not like him and his apoligists.

  13. Dan S

    February 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    i agree, but i’m sure there will be a phillie with an “off” season like these three players did. thats just baseball.

  14. Havoc

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Let’s just be honest for a second guys, none of us care how Cole looks, sounds or acts. It doesn’t make a bit of difference what his wife and him are doing. All that matters to me is that Cole pitches well and puts up W’s.

    I expect Cole, Rollins, & Lidge to have great years for the Phils. They all have something to prove and the talent to help them get there. Can’t wait for the new red machine to take the field.

  15. Pat Gallen

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I dont understand why people dislike Cole Hamels…He’s different than us. He’s from Cali, he’s laid back, and he used a few words that were in bad taste last year. Is that a reason to dislike him…

    I look at it like this…a 25-year old marries a chick who was on TV and in playboy, gets millions thrown at him, plus gets everything handed to him in about .5 seconds. He gets lazy because he’s too busy enjoying the lifestyle and struggles. While he struggles on the field, he struggles with his emotions. The guy is still very young and very talented and I think he’ll prove that he’s still a very good pitcher this season.

    He was overwhelmed by the stardom that came with winning the MVP and that, to me, is understandable. Give him this year and if he doesnt turn it around and show a better work ethic, then I think it’s fair to chastise him.

  16. NateB

    February 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- Cole will thrive being the “Lefty Ace” of the staff. Getting Roy Halladay and shipping off Cliff Lee is exactly what Hamels needed to regain his confidence. He needs to feel important and will be in top form this season.

    As for Rollins and Lidge, I have no idea what to expect, but they’ll both definitely be better than last year- easily.

  17. Chuck

    February 5, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Dipsy… I agree with you..Cole definetely needs to “grow a set.”

    That said…

    I like Cole…always have…and will root for him to return to form…Don’s right…he was DEFINITELY “tired” last year and I think that he carried all that with him into the season…(remember…he wasn’t right in Spring Training last year).

    As far as him “thriving on being the lefty ace”….I don’t know….That COULD help him regain some confidence…but I think he would come back strong regardless of whether Cliff Lee was her or not.

    And George….usually, I like and respect your posts….but…seriously…relax, dude.. What Dipsy said is kind of funny…and I really don’t think that it in any way diminishes his respect or liking or support of Cole. I mean…you have to admit…Cole IS kind of “off”…He really has brought these kind of comments on himself with his “different”behavior.

    It’s like we’ve said before…Cole Hamels really isn’t as “Philly” guy.

  18. Red McNertney

    February 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Cole is a zany left hander, similar to other lefties who were effective but zany in their own rights –Carlton, Bill Lee, Koufax and others. He is a pretty nice guy and a typical Californian. There is NO REASON TO HATE HIM !!!. He has talent, we are lucky to have him and I believe he will be solid next year. Rollins is a damn good ballplayer and a defensive whiz. When he is hot offensively, he is truly amazing. Lidge worries me because of his two (not one) injuries. We need a closer badly and we missed the boat when we failed to get one in the off season. If all three of these guys bounce back in 2010, then we will cruise to the World Series. I am very optimistic.

  19. George

    February 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm


    I think I am relaxed for the most part.

    I have noticed, however, that The Dipsy’s comments about Hamels are never respectful in the least, and frankly, I’m tired of them. Sure, he’s “off,” –at least to some people–but that’s no excuse to rip him for having a funny voice or a good looking wife. Criticize him all you want for hanging curveballs in a world series game, or for letting his emotions show when an error was committed behind him. But unwarranted personal attacks, to me, are never funny.

    I’m also tired of that “not a Philly guy” nonsense. People make it sound as if one has to drink four or five twelve packs a day and have at least three testicles to live in Philly.

  20. Red McNertney

    February 5, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I am a Philly guy, drink two twelve packs a day and only have one testicle.

  21. Chuck

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm


    Yes…you are relaxed for the most part…

    But…I really don’t think any harm was meant by some of these comments…by either Dipsy or anyone else..

    And the “Philly guy” thing IS a real thing….and it doesn’t mean that you have to have 3 or even 33 testicles….or drink multilple six-packs a day…in order to be one..

    It means…”blue-collar”…”hard-working”…..”gritty”….”throwback”….use whatever word you want….

    The bottom line is…Cole doesn’t exude that…people around here don’t have as much respect for laid-back types that whine a lot….and Cole gives off that vibe A LOT..

    As I said…I like Cole….and I’ll be rooting for him to succeed….and will give him a lot more slack than a lot of the crybabies and complainers on here…

  22. Manny

    February 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Funny that the post saying Hamels needs to ‘man-up’ and stop being a “sissy” comes from someone who calls himself “the Dipsy”…

  23. Stu

    February 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Repeat after me….Cole Hammels was a huge reason the the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. Let’s see what he does in 2010.

  24. derekcarstairs

    February 5, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I’m a big fan of talented lefties like Cole, and I think he will be fine in 2010 and beyond. I do think he talks too much and says the wrong thing too often. He thinks he’s just being honest, but what he says does not come out right. Maybe, he should follow Lefty’s example and just stop talking altogether.

  25. PhxPhilly

    February 5, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    What players on the Phillies are true
    players? Does that mean they get more love from the phans?

    Utley: Absolutely
    Werth: Nope
    Ibanez: Seems like it to me, worked himself into an all-star player
    Victorino: The Flying Hawaiian, Nope
    Happ and Kendrick: tough with guys on base as a rookie, Yes
    Rollins: I’ll show up when I want and run to first when I want, Nope
    Howard: Maybe, his extra off-season work is a bonus
    Blanton: Not sure but seems like a hard worker, who doesn’t complain
    Moyer: Also not sure, Works hard, maximizes his talent, but gets by on guile
    Ruiz: Yes
    Halladay: Seems like it so far
    Bullpen: Probably not any of them, maybe Durbin

    Honorable Mentions
    Aaron Rowand: Yes
    Cliff Lee: Yes

    I think good players who tend to keep their mouth shut are liked on most teams, including the Phillies.

  26. The Dipsy

    February 5, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I want Cole to pitch well. He has a world of talent. But what did I write that was not true????

    The Dipsy

  27. Vernon Dozier

    February 6, 2010 at 12:38 am

    Lidge and Hamels are the guys to worry about. Jimmy will continue to be Jimmy (low OBP, swing for the fences on every pitch, no matter the score or situation), but the Phils have been able to win with him playing that way. Lidge flat out scares me…

  28. Brooks

    February 6, 2010 at 12:47 am

    Cole is our kid and the kid strayed a bit but this year he’ll be back.
    Go Phils!

  29. ActuallyChilled

    February 6, 2010 at 1:57 am

    All of you complaining about these guys are demonstrating the same strand of nagging mentality that you claim to want to see different in Cole Hamels, someone who you don’t even know. Progressing in performance ability and the social ramifications of the resulting limelight is a challenge within itself. If one on the outside reacts with an anger, what does this really accomplish? Project what you want to see good in someone, instead of moaning about the person.

  30. The Dipsy

    February 6, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Plus, ya just gotta admit that Comcast commercial he did was totally….uh…..strange.

    The Dipsy

  31. Chuck

    February 6, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Cole totally walks to the beat of a different drum…sometimes people have a hard time with that.

    He’s a good guy…just weird at times.

  32. Don M

    February 6, 2010 at 11:52 am

    We all wish Hamels had more “fight” in him… to make him more like us

    That is exactly why we all wanted Myers to be great here, because he was as “Philly” as you get.. . but give me the more talented player, and i’ll worry about his personality later.

    Rollins had a down-year in what will actually be the start of his leveling-off as a player, I wouldn’t say that he’ll start declining anytime soon, but he’s not going to keep getting better as he did in ’06, ’07, and ’08…

    Who knows about Lidge.. If healthy, he should be reliable again

    Hamels should be back, Cy Young? Probably not yet… but his arm was dead last year, and he’ll be back to form in 2009 .. 15 wins, and a sub 3.50 ERA are definite possibilites

  33. Chuck

    February 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Exactly…I really have no problem with Hamels’ personality….as long as he produces on the field. He can be as “off” as he wants…

    BUT…I DO think that maybe developing a little more “fire” or a little more of an “edge” might be good….. couple that with his talent and who knows…??

    Will he ever be like us??…probably not….but that’s ok.

  34. SpankyYankee

    February 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Cole “get me a tissue” Hamels….a stat man…not team man= loser
    Brad”I’ll blow it” Lidge….a stat man…not a team player=loser
    Jimmie”front-runner” Rollins…stat man….not a team player=loser

    Don’t look for another season like you’ve had the past 2 years….the run is over….short and sweet.

  35. Chuck

    February 6, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Because the Yankees exude “team” so much…


    Most pitiful on-field celebration of a championship I have ever seen…What??…your players were afraid to jump all over each other because they were afraid of getting hurt??

    Go back to Fox News and your miserable life.

  36. WFC010

    February 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Figures that a Wankees fan would also be a Faux News fan. They go hand and hand like the bank bailouts and greedy fatcats.

  37. ryan

    February 8, 2010 at 2:32 am

    I fully expect lidge to bounce back. he was genuinely hurt all year last year and pitched through it. he also pitched into some exceptionally bad luck in some of those blown saves. I really truthfully think he will be a top flight closer this season. hamels and rollins I’m not sold on. Rollins I’m worried may be in decline in his overall career. he may never again reach the numbers he put up just a few seasons ago. and hamels is never going to be able to dominate on just fastball changeup. he needs to seriously learn his curveball and get it over for strikes. his curve is a complete joke. there is no reason why any pitcher in the big leagues shouldn’t be able to thrown some sort of breaking pitch at least better than what he has. it’s a disgrace.

  38. The Original Chuck P

    February 8, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Rollins is my favorite player… at the plate, he falls into slumps sometimes but when he’s on, he’s capable of putting together 38 game hitting streaks. He was awesome in the WBC last year but for whatever reason he developed mechanical flaws in Spring Training that he could not kick. I think he’ll have a good year… his best years may be behind him but he’s still very capable of .275, .325, .415 with 20 HR…

    Hamels did what all of the experts said he would do coming off of a year when he threw 262 total innings (coupled with a shortened offseason and plenty of WS MVP distractions)… he stunk it up. He has a valid excuse and maybe we would have preferred to hear him say that was the case but he didn’t… he was content blaming tough luck and whatever was the excuse of the day. Nobody likes it when a player is unwilling to “man up” but the reality is that Cole is a fierce competitor and probably did not feel comfortable swallowing his pride and admitting that he’s not He-Man. Listen, he’s not the first person that I would choose to have a beer with (or a skinny latte… since we’re being rude and ignorant and making assumptions about people based on the size of their Adam’s apple) but he’s a huge reason why we won the World Series in 2008 and I expect him to turn it around.

    Lidge needs to let time heal his wounds… he can’t rush back. I would love to hear the doctors tell him that he can’t return until the all-star break. I have no doubt that he’ll be fine if he’s healthy… when his slider’s on and he’s throwing his fastball over for strikes, he’s as good as anyone. He’s a head case but most closers are… he just has to get healthy.

  39. Megary

    February 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Wow. I can’t believe this many posters at Phillies Nation know Cole on such a personal level that they feel comfortable posting their opinions on the man’s character as if they are reading from the gospel.


    I’ll take Hamels on my team any day of the week. I blame his very bland 2009 on the need to overextend him in 2008. A little more rest (and a better workout program for sure) will lead to a little more separation between fastball and change, a tighter curve, and a more productive 2010.

    No team in baseball wouldn’t want Cole to be one of their “problems”.

  40. Chuck

    February 8, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Does Cole drink beer?…or is he a….wine connoisseur?

  41. NEPA

    February 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Wow again…..Most bloogers, who have never experienced the stress or the pressure of actually playing an inning of baseball in Phila,
    are spouting their so-called knowledge and hate here .
    After reading some of these comments I hope Cole smiles and lights up a cuban with a $100 bill .
    How can you say you “hate him”?Thats rediculous.
    I for one am rooting like hell for him to have another big year.

  42. Chuck

    February 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Uuuuhhhh….I don’t think anybody is “spouting hate” here. All of us are pulling for Cole Hamels to have a good year.

  43. Brooks

    February 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge and Jimmy Rollins having good (yes, we’ll take great) seasons in order for the Phils to be successful this coming year.
    Sounds pretty basic doesn’t it? Tally up the years that these 3 key players had in 2009 – can you believe the Phils went to the WS despite of these stats??
    The emergence of Werth as a certified slugger, Ibanez as our first half MVP was enough to carry the Phils.
    Although we may not be able to count on Raul being as much of an impact, no one doubts what Jason will give to the Phils.
    Howard, Utley (even though it was a “down” year for him), Victorino and even Feliz displayed the same consistency this last year.
    There you have it. The pitching has improved, the hitting has been fortified (Polanco) and all of a sudden there is a bench that may do more than sniff a hit.
    This is it, third year in a row to the WS – this has all the markings of a great 2010. And, bring on the Yanks – guaranteed the results will be different.
    Go Phils!

  44. Matt

    February 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    People have gotten a bit over the top up above, but I think it’s a valid point that Hamels doesn’t have the mental toughness of a real ace. It’s easy to point to the playoffs last year, but I think it’s a general trend with Hamels. Even in his good years, his bad days would be total busts. I just don’t believe that he, unlike every other pitcher with his skills, just loses all his talent every 2nd to 6th game (depending on the year). I think the much likelier explanation is that he’s just not that tough mentally, and when he doesn’t have his best stuff he breaks down mentally and instead of grinding it out and going 6 ugly innings with 4 runs, he goes 4+ innings with 4+ runs.

    I hope your call that he’ll end up coming back with a little chip on his shoulder this year is true, but let’s just say I’ll wait and see…

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