With Cole Hamels on the mound last night, I bet you couldn't keep your eyes off the little blue batter’s box on TBS with a teeny pitch count above it. We watched Hamels’ pitch count climb higher and higher, while Garcia finished his innings quicker than a trip to the bathroom.

By the third inning it was clear that Hamels was struggling.

Then Rich Dubee made some funny comments. Dubee praised Hamels for his poise and presence on the mound, the velocity on his fastball, and the movement on his pitches. Were we watching the same game?

Wait a minute. Let’s think about this for a second. Maybe Hamels deserves the praise. He faced a very dangerous Cardinals team who showed us exactly why they have the best offense in the league. Yes, Hamels threw a lot of pitches, but that was his only choice against a patient Cardinals squad. I mean, look at what happened to Halladay and Lee when they left pitches over the plate, giving up 8 runs between the two of them.

Hamels explained his approach perfectly. "I was trying to make pitches and just keep them down. If I missed, I knew I got another opportunity. If you're making your mistakes up in the zone, you're pretty much going to pay for it really bad. But if they're down, you give yourself probably a better opportunity to get out of the inning."

You have two choices against an offense like the St. Louis Cardinals. You keep working the corners and watch your pitch count rise, or you starting creeping toward the middle of the plate and meet the same fate as Hamels’ opponent. Garcia made one mistake and it lost him the game. Hamels made none and wound up the victor.

"I knew that every pitch mattered," he said. "Every inning mattered. They had a great pitcher on the mound . . . We were 1-1 in the series . . . We're not in our home park anymore. You definitely focus and try to dig deep."

Yet his performance has already been gone and forgotten. Go to philly.com and phillies.com and you will see what I mean. Only one article on philly.com about Hamels and none on Phillies.com. In fact, Cole Hamels name was mentioned exactly 4 times in three Game 3 articles on phillies.com. He has the second lowest ERA (1.81) in Division Series history and became the winningest pitcher in Phillies postseason history, yet he had a GRAND TOTAL OF 4 MENTIONS.

A World Series ring and 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP honors didn’t get Hamels noticed and neither did 4 postseason wins in 2008, 7 postseason wins overall, a 2.65 postseason ERA since 2007, or 6 shutout innings last night.

The question is, how many championships will it take before Hamels gets the respect he deserves?


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