Cole Hamels won a World Series MVP award Wednesday night without throwing a pitch. Only fitting, because he owned October all the way.
Cole Hamels won a World Series MVP award Wednesday night without throwing a pitch.
Only fitting, because he owned October all the way.
Hamels made five postseason starts for the Philadelphia Phillies and went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, a dazzling display of pressure pitching that earned him two treasured trophies.
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Already the Most Valuable Player of the NL championship series, the lanky lefty duplicated that feat with two terrific starts against Tampa Bay and joined Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt (1980) as the only World Series MVPs in Philadelphia history.
“I feel like a winner now,” Hamels said after the Phillies wrapped up the Series with a 4-3 victory in Game 5.
Hamels outpitched Scott Kazmir for a 3-2 win in the opener, then tossed six effective innings Monday night before Game 5 was suspended by rain in the middle of the sixth with the score tied 2-all.
“That was the worst weather I’ve pitched in in my entire life,” Hamels said. “I feel like I succeeded even with all the hard conditions that were thrown my way.”
The storm ended Hamels’ outing after 75 pitches, but he nearly wound up with a win anyway. When the game resumed Wednesday night, Philadelphia went ahead in the bottom of the sixth on Jayson Werth’s bloop single.
That put Hamels in position for a record-breaking victory — on a night when he never took the mound. But the Rays tied it at 3 in the seventh against Philadelphia’s bullpen, leaving the 24-year-old with a no-decision.
No matter. The Phillies pulled it out and Hamels was selected MVP, just as he was in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“This is something that you have to live for,” Hamels said. “Going out there, I knew I had a job to do. I had the support of these fans, I had my teammates behind me and all I had to really do was just go throw a baseball as well I knew how.”
Along with the MVP trophy, Hamels took home a new sports car that he planned to give to his wife, who celebrated her 30th birthday Wednesday.
“Definitely going to have to enjoy this moment because there’s a lot of times you don’t have everything go your way,” Hamels said. “To come away with a World Series ring is more important to me than an MVP.”
Hamels became the fifth player to win LCS and World Series MVPs in one postseason. The others were Florida pitcher Livan Hernandez (1997), Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser (1988), St. Louis catcher Darrell Porter (1982) and Hall of Fame slugger Willie Stargell (1979) of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hamels was a dependable and durable No. 1 starter for the Phillies all season, his third in the major leagues. Philadelphia chose him 17th overall in the 2002 amateur draft — two spots after Kazmir was picked by the New York Mets.
Going 14-10 with a 3.09 ERA in 33 starts, Hamels threw a career-high 227 1-3 innings during the regular season. That was 44 innings more than his previous high set last year.
But he hardly looked tired in October. He only got better.
Hamels finished 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two World Series starts — almost perfect.
“This is a great situation. I’m even more excited for that guy who’s holding the MVP,” said 45-year-old teammate Jamie Moyer. “He deserves it. He’s the ace.”
No pitcher has won five starts in one postseason, though Hamels came close. Francisco Rodriguez won five times out of the bullpen for the 2002 Anaheim Angels, and Randy Johnson had five wins for the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks — but one came in relief against the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.