The Chicago Cubs may have found their version of 2017 Justin Verlander. After putting up less than stellar numbers with the Texas Rangers in the first half, Cole Hamels is pitching like an ace again with the Cubs.
Hamels continued his dominant run with his new club Thursday, tossing a complete-game against the Cincinnati Reds. Hamels allowed one run on eight hits over nine innings in the 7-1 win. The last time Hamels tossed a complete-game at Wrigley Field was in 2015, when he threw a no-hitter in his final start with the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the performance, Hamels now has a 0.79 ERA in five starts with the Cubs. In 20 starts with the Texas Rangers, Hamels had a 4.72 ERA.
Cole Hamels pitching like an ace with the Cubs
While it’s only been five starts, it looks as though the Cubs figured out how to get Hamels going again. Since joining the team, his strikeout rate and velocity are up, while his walk rate is down. He’s also altered his pitch mix, according to Brooks Baseball. Hamels is throwing more cutters and changeups against lefties and heavily relying on his four-seam fastball against righties.
Could regression be coming for Cole Hamels and the Cubs?
Hamels is bound to regress. His BABIP is low, his strand rate is extremely high and he hasn’t given up a home run yet. You didn’t think he would post a 0.79 ERA the rest of the season, right?
Even with regression, Hamels still looks like he’s back. He has a 2.27 FIP with the Cubs, which suggests Hamels has been legitimately good. He’s not just getting lucky.
Cubs need Cole Hamels to continue pitching like his old self
Hamels’ resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cubs. If the team has a weakness, it’s the starting rotation. Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have both taken steps back, while Jose Quintana hasn’t been his usual self. With Yu Darvish not returning this season, the Cubs need someone to emerge at the top-of-the-rotation starter in the postseason. If Hamels can keep going at this pace, he could be the team’s best pitcher going into October.
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