Cole Hamels went the distance again on Monday night, pitching his second straight shutout. Hamels dominated the Marlins, cruising to a 113-pitch, five-strikeout performance that backed up his dazzling five-hitter last week against the Braves. The two shutouts were nearly identical, and on Monday he overcame a minor first-inning threat by Miami to settle in again and cruise for his 13th win of the season. It was the 12th complete game and sixth shutout of his career.
Ruben Amaro and the Philadelphia organization rewarded Hamels with a six-year, $144-million contract last month and he's responded in a big way. Despite his team's disappointing season, Hamels is perhaps pitching himself into Cy Young contention, as he now leads the league in innings pitches and is third in strikeouts.
After Monday night's gem, he was asked about targeting a Cy Young Award over the final stretch of the season. Via Ryan Lawrence of the Delaware County Times:
"I play to win every ballgame I can, and with that, you get awards for it. I play to win. I'm not going to go out there and give up when the season can already be given up on already. I want to win every game I possibly can and start streaks that can transfer over next year."
It hasn't been long since a Phillies' hurler accomplished the same feat, with Cliff Lee pitching three straight shutouts just last season. Hamels spoke about watching Lee's streak last year and trying to match that:
"I haven't had (shutouts) in a couple years. They're nice to be able to do," Hamels said. "I watched Cliff be able to do it last year with the consecutive shutouts he's throwing and it makes you believe. Why can't you do it, too?"
He will try to match his teammate's remarkable three-game stretch on Saturday, when he's slated to pitch against the Brewers in Milwaukee.