Tag: Cole Hamels

In a Wide-Open AL Cy Young Race, Why Not Cole Hamels?

Cole Hamels never really came close to winning a Cy Young Award when he was in the National League. He placed in the voting four times, but never higher than fifth. The competition was just too good.

So, maybe being in the American League and part of a race with too much competition is just the ticket he needs.

Hamels is taking care of his own business in his first full season with the Texas Rangers. The 32-year-old left-hander entered his Thursday assignment against the Kansas City Royals with an 11-2 record and a 2.87 ERA. He then improved on both marks in a 3-2 win, pitching eight innings of two-run ball with six hits, a walk and a season-high 12 strikeouts.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the highlights:

The Rangers have gotten a full season’s worth of starts from Hamels since acquiring him from the Philadelphia Phillies on deadline day last year. He’s gone 19-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 217 innings. This is otherwise known as pretty good ROI.

Meanwhile, Hamels is as good a bet as anyone to win the AL Cy Young if he keeps this up.

Records aren’t all the rage anymore, but he’ll draw a crowd if he stays on a pace for 20 wins. His 2.84 ERA, which is second only to Aaron Sanchez’s (2.72) among AL starters, will too. With 133.1 innings, Hamels is also in the top 10 of the AL in innings pitched.

If he’s sounding like a top Cy Young candidate, that’s because he is. This according to years of experience talking about such things, and also to ESPN.com’s Cy Young predictor. It’s tough to explain—the short version is that it’s a doohickey that runs on thingamajiggery—but it has Hamels marked as one of the top five contenders for the award.

If you’re looking for some kind of proclamation for Hamels as the man to beat, look elsewhere. This year’s AL Cy Young race has no such thing.

In fact, it’s hard to even call it a race. To borrow a line from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it’s less a race and more an endurance contest: a battle between evenly matched contenders in which the last man standing will win.

The Cy Young predictor makes that clear, showing Hamels in a thick bundle of well-qualified AL starters that also includes Sanchez, Chris Tillman, Chris Sale, Danny Salazar and, surprisingly, Zach Britton.

The wins above replacement leaderboard, a necessary go-to when discussing any awards race, doesn’t clear things up. At Baseball-Reference.com, which keeps things simple with a WAR formula that focuses on runs allowed and innings pitched, the top of the leaderboard looked like this at the start of play Thursday:

That’s a large number of good pitchers packed into a not-large amount of space. Hamels is going to get a boost from his Thursday performance, but it won’t be enough to put him clearly ahead of the rest of the pack.

With two months of baseball left, there’s hardly a guarantee the AL Cy Young “race” will stay this closely bunched. But even if the number of contenders is cut in half by the end, the voters will still have a pickle on their hands. And to solve this particular pickle, they’d have to get nerdy.

And for now, that’s where Hamels’ case gets tricky.

Although his surface numbers are strong, David Schoenfield of ESPN.com is right in pointing out Hamels has weak peripherals. He’s only ninth in the American League in strikeout rate (8.9 per nine innings) and in the bottom seven of the league in walk rate (3.4 per nine innings). 

Hamels isn’t knocking down any doors with his quality of contact allowed either. According to Baseball Savant, he entered Thursday allowing an average of 87.8 miles per hour on batted balls. Solid, but not near the top of the leaderboard. He is also allowing 1.15 home runs per nine innings.

This could mean Hamels is getting lucky, and that in turn could mean a regression in the final two months of the season. That would more than likely knock him out of the AL Cy Young race.

Or, it could mean Hamels is outpacing his peripherals in invisible ways. That hasn’t been his style in the past, but it’s not fair to compare his past self to his current self. His past self was a fastball-changeup guy. Brooks Baseball can show his current self is something else:

Hamels is now a fastball-cutter pitcher who also shows a sinker, changeup and curveball. That’s an unpredictable pitcher, which is precisely what he strives to be.

“It’s a matter of figuring it out and trying not to be predictable,” he said of making adjustments to Eno Sarris of FanGraphs last month.

Hamels may be at his most unpredictable when he absolutely needs to be. Compared to when nobody is on, it helps that his strikeout rate, walk rate and exit velocity are all better when runners are on base:

Because few things explain Hamels’ success like the fact he’s stranding runners at the highest rate in the league, him keeping this up will be a crucial part of his chase for his first Cy Young.

The odds are he won’t be an easy choice for the award even if he pulls it off. There’s still likely to be a crowd of good candidates, some of whom will have better peripherals than him.

But any time a guy can get to the end of the season with a sparkling record, low ERA and high innings count, he has a shot. And for Hamels, this is probably the best shot at the award he’s had yet.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Cole Hamels Has 8 Games in 2016 with 6-Plus Innings and 1 Run or Fewer Allowed

Fact: Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels now has eight games this season with six or more innings pitched allowing one run or fewer, the most in the American League.

Bleacher Report will be bringing sports fans the most interesting and engaging Cold Hard Fact of the day, presented by Coors Light.

Source: B/R Insights

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Cole Hamels Injury: Updates on Rangers Star’s Groin and Return

Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels will miss at least one start due to groin soreness. An exact return date has yet to be announced. 

Continue for updates. 

Daniels Comments on Hamels’ Injury

Sunday, April 24

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels commented on the decision to skip Hamels in the rotation during an appearance on MLB Network Radio:

Hamels Out vs. Yankees 

Sunday, April 24

“The Rangers have scratched [Hamels] from Monday’s start [against the New York Yankees] with a mild strain of his left groin muscle. It is not considered serious and there are no plans to put him on the disabled list,” revealed T.R. Sullivan of Rangers.com. “Hamels missed one start last season in August because of a similar problem.”

Hamels Is the Key to Rangers’ Pitching Success

The 2008 World Series MVP and most experienced postseason arm on the Rangers roster is now shelved, forcing Texas to search for a new ace. Hamels is currently 3-0 with 23 strikeouts, a 2.52 ERA and 1.24 WHIP on the 2016 campaign.

The pitcher was traded to the Rangers from the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2015 trade deadline in order to help the Rangers win the American League West. He overcame a tough start in which he went 0-1 with a 5.93 ERA by winning his next seven decisions to close out the regular season.

Hamels’ last start was arguably the most important of the regular season, pitching a complete game that clinched the American League West for the Rangers.

The MLB shared footage of the final out:

This is a Rangers staff that has been dealing with injuries for more than a year now. The team’s ace Yu Darvish hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2015. 

They also saw Yovani Gallardo head to the Baltimore Orioles in free agency this offseason.

Now with Hamels out and Darvish still on the shelf, the Rangers will have to turn to the likes of Derek Holland and Chi Chi Gonzalez to step up and be top-of-the-rotation-caliber starters. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

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Cole Hamels Announced as Rangers’ Starter for 2016 Opening Day

As Yu Darvish continues rebuilding his arm strength from Tommy John surgery, the Texas Rangers will go with Cole Hamels as their Opening Day starter against the Seattle Mariners on April 4.

The Rangers officially announced Hamels as their No. 1 starter on Twitter on Wednesday. 

The 32-year-old Hamels was acquired by the Rangers last season on July 31 in a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. He posted a 3.66 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 83.2 innings after the move, helping Texas win its first American League West title since 2011. 

Hamels was the Rangers’ starting pitcher in their must-win game on the last day of the season, tossing a complete-game three-hitter in a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels. He made two starts against the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Division Series, allowing four earned runs with 14 strikeouts and two walks in 13.1 innings. 

If Darvish were healthy, his resume and dominant stuff would likely have given him the edge over Hamels to start on Opening Day. He’s being carefully managed by the team, throwing 31 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday, and he won’t face live hitters until he’s able to throw between 50 and 55 pitches, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News

Hamels is certainly no stranger to taking the ball for a season opener, previously getting the honor as a member of the Phillies in 2013 and 2015, per Rangers executive vice president of communications John Blake

Blake also noted the Rangers have used seven different Opening Day starters in the last seven seasons. Hamels has proved himself to be one of the best and most consistent pitchers in Major League Baseball.

Hamels may no longer be the Cy Young Award contender from his peak days in Philadelphia, but his evolution as a pitcher to keep hitters off balance before setting them up with his devastating changeup will keep him playing at a high level for a long time. 

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Cole Hamels Suing Promoter After Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Entry Denied

Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels has filed a lawsuit against Cornucopia Events after he and his wife were unable to get into the 2015 Victoria’s Secret fashion show.   

According to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), Hamels claims Cornucopia Events did not get him or his wife into the event last year even though he paid about $70,000 for three VIP packages. 

Per the AP report, Hamels’ lawsuit states the money was supposed to cover a “four-night stay in a luxury hotel, a limousine with champagne, access to exclusive restaurants and goodie bags.”

However, Hamels’ suit alleges he and his party did not receive any of the perks paid for and were not granted entry into the fashion show that took place in November and was broadcast on CBS the following month. 

Law360 obtained a legal document in the case (via Lindsey Foltin of FoxSports.com), stating “The Cornucopia defendants held themselves out to be a ‘VIP’ concierge/lifestyle management company with access to the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. The Cornucopia defendants did not intend, could not and/or failed to provide the Hamels any entry at all to the [show].”

The AP noted Hamels is seeking “$150,000 in damages for fraud and misrepresentation” in his lawsuit, and Cornucopia’s managing director did not immediately respond to an email. 

Hamels filed the lawsuit in Philadelphia on Feb. 19, per the AP report. The 32-year-old spent the first nine years of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies before being traded to the Rangers last July.

He led the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008, winning NLCS and World Series MVP after posting a 1.80 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings during the postseason. 

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Keys That Will Decide Rangers vs. Blue Jays, Astros vs. Royals ALDS Game 5s

The do-or-die, win-or-go-home sporting event is the pinnacle of athletic drama.

It creates undeniable excitement before kickoff, tipoff, the puck drop and first pitch. Pins, needles, sweaty palms and butterflies are all in play when one game defines an entire season.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball gives us two such contests.

Both American League Division Series have improbable Game 5s to decide who meets in the Championship Series—fates that seemed entirely unlikely at certain points during both series. Yet, here we are with the slates wiped clean and the brink of elimination tangible for all four teams.

The Texas Rangers go back to Toronto to face the Blue Jays, a team they beat twice there to start this series, but then lost to at home, failing to close it out. Later, the Houston Astros, who at one point in the seventh inning of Game 4 in their own park had a 98.4 percent win probability, according to FanGraphs, will try to beat the Kansas City Royals and expunge their missed opportunity.

There are distinct keys for each team’s victory. While they might not ensure a trip to the ALCS, they certainly would go a long way in helping.

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Cole Hamels’ Clutch Postseason Legacy Will Be Put to Test in Game 5

Once you’ve won a League Championship Series MVP and a World Series MVP, as Cole Hamels did in 2008 with the Philadelphia Phillies, that pretty much seals your postseason legacy. On Wednesday in Toronto, however, the Texas Rangers southpaw will have a chance to gild his October lily.

It won’t be easy. He’ll face the big-bashing Blue Jays and their gauntlet of right-handed power bats, a group that throttled left-handers in the regular season. And he’ll be performing in front of a raucous Rogers Centre crowd that hadn’t soaked up postseason baseball in 22 years prior to Game 1.

If he succeeds, though, Hamels will cement his status as an unquestioned October stud—and propel Texas into the American League Championship Series.

Few imagined the Rangers would find themselves here when they acquired Hamels at the trade deadline. At the time, Texas was mired under .500 and sitting in third place in the AL West. Getting Hamels, who is signed through 2018 with a team option for 2019, felt like a move for the future.

Texas, however, surged past the Houston Astroswho will play a Game 5 of their own Wednesday, setting up the possibility of an all-Lone Star State ALCSand on to the division crown.

Coming into the ALDS, the Jays were heavy favorites. Undaunted, the Rangers took the first two games in Canada. Toronto, however, struck back in Arlington, plating a combined 13 runs in Games 3 and 4 to force Wednesday’s winner-take-all showdown.

Now, the Rangers will hand the ball to Hamels, secure in the knowledge that he’s on familiar ground.

“I think what separates him from a lot of people is that he’s been there, done that, and he knows what it takes to be successful,” Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux said, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “He knows what the finish line smells like, what it tastes like.”

Rangers skipper Jeff Banister made the same point, per the team’s official Twitter feed:

Hamels has logged 88.2 innings over six postseasons, five with the Phillies. He’s racked up 83 strikeouts and posted a 3.05 ERA during that span and taken the hill in four potential series clinchers.

The good news for Texas? Hamels’ team won all four. Like Maddux said, he knows the taste of victory (which, incidentally, is very close to the taste of champagne). 

But Wednesday might present Hamels’ toughest postseason test. The Blue Jays led all of baseball in runs scored, home runs launched and a host of other statistical categories in the regular season. And they punished southpaws to the tune of an MLB-best .818 OPS.

Several Jays hitters have good career numbers against Hamels: Jose Bautista (3-for-9 with a double), Edwin Encarnacion (5-for-14 with a home run) and Troy Tulowitzki (5-for-15 with two home runs, a triple and four RBI).

In fact, the entire Toronto lineup is swinging easier after appearing to press in Games 1 and 2.

“I think the jitters are gone from this team now,” said Bautista, per Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. “We’re having better at-bats.”

Here’s an interesting wrinkle to add to this story: When Hamels won his NLCS and World Series MVPs with Philadelphia in 2008, the Phils defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the Fall Classic. And that Tampa Bay team featured a rookie pitcher by the name of David Price.

Price, of course, is now in the Blue Jays’ dugout, but he won’t start opposite Hamels in Game 5 after making a three-inning relief appearance in Game 4. Instead, the Jays will turn to 24-year-old right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Hamels was 24 in 2008. Now he’s 31, the wizened veteran. 

He’s also not the only option the Rangers and Banister have for a Game 5 starter. Yovani Gallardo is rested and ready. And you can make a case for him over Hamels, as TSN.ca did:

Going to Gallardo seems like the obvious play. The 29-year-old Mexican went five innings in the Game 1 win, allowing two runs on four hits. Those runs were the first surrendered by Gallardo against the Jays this season in three starts. In two regular season starts against the Jays, Gallardo threw 13.2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just six hits and holding the Jays to an average of just [.136].

Hamels, however, has the pedigree. Yes, some of the Jays’ best hitters have knocked him around in the past. Yes, he looked mortal in Game 2, surrendering four runs and six hits in seven frames and taking a no-decision as the Rangers prevailed in 14 innings.

Ultimately, though, Texas is wisely leaning on Hamels’ sterling October resume and the fact that the team has won his last 11 starts dating back to Aug. 17.

If the Rangers make it an even dozen Wednesday, they’ll be ALCS-bound. They will have pulled a David on Toronto’s mighty Goliath. And Cole Hamels’ postseason legacy will be sealed even tighter.


All statistics current as of Oct. 13 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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AL West Turning into Wild Wild West Down the Stretch

The American League West is completely invested in and totally behind the implementation of the second wild card. It has to be. 

If it were not for that spot, two of its postseason contenders would be left out of the tournament, fighting solely for first place in the division.

As things stand, the Texas Rangers are looking down at the others. The Houston Astros are chasing the Rangers while also trying to kick back the Los Angeles Angels, a team with six consecutive wins as of their Monday night walk-off victory over the Oakland A’s and hanging just a half-game behind the Astros.

The Rangers lost their third in a row Monday, and the Astros won their third consecutive contest. Texas now leads the division by 1.5 games, with the Angels lurking two back. That bunch-up will cause plenty of scoreboard-watching and tense times over this final week of the season.

“We’re hanging in there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, per Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. “We’re hanging in there.”

That is because of that second wild-card berth. It also means this division is going to keep an entire baseball-watching country interested in late-September baseball. It’s going to be a good time.

Making it better is that the Rangers host the Angels for a four-game, season-ending series starting Thursday. All games count for the same number of wins and losses, but that series, depending on what happens over the next two days, could do more to determine who participates in the postseason than any other for any team this year.

The fact that it might very well affect four clubs, all within whispering distance of each other, makes it the series to watch for all fans. The Houston Astros, who oddly finish their season with three games in Arizona against the Diamondbacks, and Minnesota Twins will be paying close attention as well.

The Twins have been a little overlooked because of this western ordeal, but they are maybe the most surprising playoff contender of the bunch. They also won Monday, their third consecutive victory, and are 1.5 games back of the Astros for that second wild card. They finish off with the Cleveland Indians and then the Kansas City Royals, who may very well be resting some regulars by the time that weekend series is played.

“It feels good but we’re obviously not finished yet,” Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe said, per Jordan Bastian and Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. “We’ve been battling all season. We’ve put ourselves in a good position and we’re looking forward to these last six games. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Rangers are giving the ball to Cole Hamels on Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers, and this is the kind of start an ace is made for. He has to stop the bleeding, and based on his recent outings, he is the perfect bandage.

Since missing a start because of a groin injury in mid-August, Hamels is 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA in eight starts. The Rangers have won all of Hamels’ turns in that time, and the only other occasion during that run he started a game after a Rangers loss he pitched seven innings, allowed one run and struck out 12 against the Seattle Mariners. That is the definition of a “stopper.”

“We’ve got our guy going tomorrow,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after his club lost Monday, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

The Rangers desperately need Hamels to produce a win, because the Astros are playing in Seattle and will not have to face ace Felix Hernandez in their next two before heading to Phoenix. And once there, Houston will throw ace Dallas Keuchel, while the Diamondbacks have the inconsistent Rubby De La Rosa and Jeremy Hellickson scheduled to pitch the first two games, though Hellickson has a 2.49 ERA in his last five starts. 

The Angels have two more against the A’s before that big Rangers series, and they face Chris Bassitt on Tuesday and Barry Zito, who allowed four runs in two innings in his only start this season, on Wednesday. Garrett Richards, the Angels ace, who has five quality starts in his last six outings, opposes Zito, making him available to pitch the season finale against Texas on short rest if needed.

With all three teams seemingly set up well, none of the leads are secure or safe.

“Safe? There’s nothing safe in baseball,” Banister said Sunday, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). “You’ve got to continue to play. It’s about competing. These guys, they’ve never taken that approach. We’ve been playing from behind all year long. We’ve worked way too hard to get to this point to think that anything is safe.”

Thank you for that and this entire week, second wild card.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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Rangers Have Shocked the Baseball World in Becoming 2015 Wild-Card Threats

It is time to take these guys quite seriously.

Most of the numbers say we probably shouldn’t. Their run differential says they should be well under .500. Their offense is not entirely intimidating and could be seen as a liability. Their overall pitching is about the worst in Major League Baseball, and their rotation has not been much better.

Based on all of that, this is a club that should be falling back for a top draft position: not holding onto a playoff position.

That is exactly what the Texas Rangers are doing, though. With less than 40 games to play, they are in sole possession of the second wild-card spot, having won nine of their last 11 games while stunning the baseball world a season after losing 95 games and their ace in spring training. 

For the Rangers, this is no longer about what they can do next year. This is about becoming legitimate World Series contenders in a season that they were once eight games under .500.

“We definitely believe in that,” designated hitter Prince Fielder told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News on Saturday. “We’re trying to stay focused and not let it get away from us.”

When the Rangers pulled off the blockbuster trade deadline deal for Cole Hamels last month, they finished that day 50-52 and three games out of the second wild-card spot, with four teams ahead of them. For those reasons, the trade for Hamels was seen as an aggressive move to become contenders in 2016 when they could pair him with Yu Darvish, their incumbent ace who had Tommy John surgery in March.

Since firing a no-hitter in his last start with the Philadelphia Phillies, Hamels had not been much of an ace for the Rangers in his first three starts—12 earned runs in 20.2 innings for a 5.23 ERA to go with a 1.45 WHIP. He was solid on Sunday, giving the Rangers six innings of two-run ball to get his first win with the team.

While Hamels has yet to look great with Texas aside from giving them plenty of innings, he is still one of the game’s aces. Because of that, he gives the Rangers a serious chance to win a one-game wild-card matchup against anybody the team might face.

His trade might have been viewed publicly as a move for next season, but given the team’s surge, he is now very much part of the team’s hope to reach the postseason and advance.

The Rangers staff has been brutally ineffective for most of the season. Entering Sunday, their 6.2 Fangraphs WAR is 13th in the American League, as was their 4.39 ERA. The rotation’s 6.0 WAR is also 14th, its ERA (4.34) is 13th and its Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) (4.45) is dead last. It also strikes out just 6.01 hitters per nine innings, the second-lowest mark in the league.

Obviously, Hamels taking the ball in a must-win kind of game is a huge boost.

“No matter what kind of condition I have or what I’m going through, I have to be able to go out there and put up zeros on the board,” Hamels told reporters last week. “The expectations that I have are to be able to burn innings, make quality pitches and work quick enough so the defense is able to stay in the game and make great plays.” 

The offense, which has picked up a tick during this hot stretch, also has been disappointing. Its overall Fangraphs offensive mark was minus-21.2 through Saturday, and it ranked 13th in the league in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) while being about middle-of-the-pack in several other categories like OBP, OPS and Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA).

Shin-Soo Choo, who has been a disappointment since signing with the Rangers before last season, has been one of their hotter hitters lately with a 147 wRC+ over his previous 13 games going into Sunday. And with Fielder having a strong season, even with his power numbers a bit down, along with Mitch Moreland and Rougned Odor being well above league average offensively, they give the Rangers a lineup capable of supporting a playoff push down the stretch. 

Also, power-hitting prospect Joey Gallo could be called up and be eligible for the postseason roster, giving the team another power threat in the final month, and possibly in the playoffs.

These Rangers might not look like a playoff team, or even a legitimate threat to contend, on the data sheets. They don’t pitch well, they are just an OK hitting team in a hitter-friendly yard and their newly acquired No. 1 starter has yet to be dominant for them.

But they are winning, and doing it often enough that a postseason berth could be only about a month away if they don’t slump. The Rangers’ current position might be surprising, but if they end up in the playoffs, making some noise should not surprise anyone considering the pieces they possess.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired first-hand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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Cole Hamels Injury: Updates on Rangers Star’s Groin and Return

Texas Rangers star pitcher Cole Hamels won’t be making a scheduled start on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins because of a groin injury.

Continue for updates.

Hamels Scratched vs. Twins Because of Sore Groin

Tuesday, August 11

Hamels’ third start with his new club will have to wait in light of his health situation, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com.     

The veteran southpaw has proved to be plenty durable during his decorated MLB career, missing just one start this season in June because of a mild right hamstring strain.

Hamels has made at least 30 starts in each of the past seven seasons. Unless this setback proves to be something major, Texas can likely expect Hamels to be good to go again soon enough.

What had been a trying 2015 campaign for Hamels changed drastically when the Philadelphia Phillies dealt him to the Rangers just before the trade deadline. The rare, legitimate move by Texas to patch up its starting pitching gave Hamels a sudden chance to go to the postseason.

Since arriving in Arlington, though, Hamels has posted a 5.93 ERA in two prior starts. If the club can just reach the playoffs, there’s reason to believe Hamels can help the Rangers get over the hump should he draw on the form that garnered him 2008 World Series MVP honors.

Sitting 3.5 games out of the last wild-card spot at the moment, the Rangers have a ways to climb in the standings and could use valuable, quality starts from Hamels to help the cause. At least his ailment seems rather minor, but it’s vital for Hamels and Yovani Gallardo to be healthy as Texas prepares for a playoff push.

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