Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cole Hamels Is The Biggest Loser

Last year, Cole Hamels signed a six year, $144 million contract to continue pitching in Philadelphia.  On Friday night, Cole Hamels continued to thank the Phillies for their generosity by losing his major league-leading ninth game.  You heard me right, baseball fans.  Colbert Hamels is now 1-9.

In addition to his inordinate loss total, Hamels also has two no-decisions, both of which resulted in losses by the Phillies.  That's 11 losses in games started by the wealthy lefty, or as many losses at Mets' wunderkind Matt Harvey has starts.

It would be easy to blame Philadelphia's hitters for Hamels' lack of success this year.  After all, the Phillies have scored one run or less in six of his 12 starts.  But Hamels has also contributed to his loss total by allowing a National League-leading 40 earned runs.

Hamels isn't just losing to good teams.  He's being sent to the showers by some of the worst teams in baseball.  Hamels allowed eight runs in a loss to the last-place Kansas City Royals on April 7.  He was also battered around for seven runs (six earned) in last night's loss to the cellar-dwelling Milwaukee Brewers.  And that's not even the worst of it.  Cole Hamels has faced the Miami Marlins (who currently have a 14-41 record) three times this year.  The Phillies have lost all three of those games, with Hamels tagged for two of the losses.

With the Phillies having just passed the one-third mark of the season (last night was their 55th game), Hamels is on pace for 27 losses.  Now, we won't be naive enough to believe that Hamels will lose that many games (he doesn't have enough starts remaining against the Marlins), especially since no one has lost more than 22 games in a season since 1965, when the Mets' Jack Fisher saw an "L" next to his name in the paper 24 times.  But don't be so sure that Hamels won't get to 20.

Fisher is one of five pitchers to lose 20 games in a season for the Mets.  Out of curiosity, let's look at those Mets pitchers who were 20-game losers to see when they lost their ninth games.  Then let's throw in Cole Hamels' name to see how he compares to them.

  • Roger Craig (1962): Became a nine-game loser on June 15, in the team's 57th game.
  • Al Jackson (1962): Became a nine-game loser on July 3, in the team's 76th game.
  • Roger Craig (1963): Became a nine-game loser on June 8, in the team's 56th game.
  • Al Jackson (1965): Became a nine-game loser on June 16, in the team's 63rd game.
  • Tracy Stallard (1964): Became a nine-game loser on June 21, in the team's 67th game.
  • Jack Fisher (1965): Became a nine-game loser on July 3, in the team's 80th game.
  • Jerry Koosman (1977): Became a nine-game loser on July 4, in the team's 79th game.
  • Cole Hamels (2013): Became a nine-game loser on May 31, in his team's 55th game.

A 20-loss season has been accomplished seven times in Mets history by five different pitchers.  Of those five pitchers, Roger Craig was the quickest to nine losses, doing so in his team's 56th game during the second week of June in 1963.  Cole Hamels reached nine losses before the end of May and did so in fewer games than it took any of the Mets' 20-game losers to achieve their nine-pack of losses.

It would take a tremendous effort by Hamels to turn his season around.  But looking at the Mets pitchers who have lost 20 games in a single season, Hamels might need a Herculean effort just to avoid losing 20 games himself.  Of course, he might not even notice or care.  He's just laughing all the way to the bank after each loss.

Laugh all you want, Cole.  You're still an ass.

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