Cole Hamels: Analyzing The Phillies' NLCS Game 3 Starting Pitcher

Cole Hamels will be taking the mound for the Phillies in Game 3 of their NLCS showdown against the Giants. To help get you ready, we offer the following scouting report.

Vitals

6'3, 190
Left-handed
208.2 innings
3.06 ERA
9.1 K/9
2.6 BB/9

2010 Playoffs

9 innings, 0 runs, 0 walk, 9 strikeouts

Repertoire

Hamels, technically, has a four-pitch repertoire. He has a cutter he'll throw in the high-80s with very slight break in towards righties, and he has a curve, which sits in the mid-70s with mild downward break. His bread and butter, though, is that fastball/changeup mix that drives so many hitters crazy. Hamels' best pitch is his change, which is also one of the very best pitches in baseball. It comes in around 82mph and seems to float towards the catcher. Just when you think you've timed his change, Hamels then comes back with a fastball he's able to gun into the mid-90s when he wants. It's usually closer to 91-93mph, but its perceived velocity is higher given his offspeed stuff.

Facing Righties

Righties, predictably, see a lot of Hamels' change. They see it early, they see it when he's behind, and they see it when he's ahead. He has all the confidence in the world in that pitch, as he should. He will almost exclusively keep that pitch away from the hitter near the outer half. He'll throw his regular fastball over the plate and a little up, while he'll keep his curve more centered and he'll bust his cutter inside. It's the change that gets the most swings and misses. During the year, that pitch had a contact rate against righties of just 53%. Nearly half the swings righties took against Hamels' change missed.

Facing Lefties

Hamels' change is so good he might actually be better against righties than lefties. When he does get to face lefties, he throws his same four pitches, with more fastballs and fewer changeups than he throws to righties. The change, though, is still his preferred second pitch, and it's still wildly successful, with a contact rate of 53% as well. Righties and lefties alike can't seem to hit that pitch. He won't bury the change away from the hitter, instead simply keeping it low and somewhere near the plate. Cutters usually end up outside, while he puts his fastball everywhere and tends to spot his curve down and away.

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