Ole King Hamels will be just fine, thank you for asking.
The left-hander dialed up the best start of any Phillies pitcher this season, as he tossed seven shutout innings in the series finale against the Braves Sunday to lead the Phillies to the series victory. The four hit, one walk, eight strikeout performance nabbed Hamels his first win of the season and gave the Phils the weekend and a very tidy 7-2 record -- good for sole possession of first place in National League East.
Cole's start, combined with Roy Oswalt’s six-inning effort on Saturday, not only stopped whatever momentum Atlanta had built after shellacking Cliff Lee on Friday night, but also provided Cole (and more importantly -- the ever-fickle fans) with a much needed sense of confidence following his rough outing against the Mets last week.
Not that he needed a shot of confidence. After all, Cole's had a good career thus far, and is the author of one of the most dominating postseasons in recent memory.
Which is why it makes perfect sense for Hamels to get booed after his poor outing at the hand of the Mets last Tuesday (six runs in 2 2/3 innings), even though Joe Blanton got a standing ovation the following night despite giving a similar performance (seven runs in 4 1/3 innings -- which looks even worse considering he had a seven-run lead to work with).
I know I said that Hamels does indeed deserve the boos in this piece last week, which was actually just mocking the reactionary nature of fans and pundits in the era where news is instant and feedback is even faster, but it really couldn't be further from the truth. While most of us had cooler heads and acknowledged that Cole would be just fine after his rocky start, the local radio stations were no doubt fielding calls from irate fans who wanted Hamels to be ran out of town because he is a headcase prima donna that can’t handle the mental anguish of merely being the fourth starter.
Not that Hamels cares about the boos or the heckles. According to him, it’s just part of the game, as he tells Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times:
“You don’t catch yourself or understand when you’re booing. It’s just that you know (the target) is a very good player and you expect him to go out and be perfect. At the same time, you know nobody is perfect.”
If anyone thought Hamels was offended by Tuesday’s boos, that notion didn’t come from the 2008 World Series MVP.
“I don’t let it affect me,” Hamels said. “You just shrug it off and go about your business. And you try to take care of business, do what you know you’re capable of doing.”
And there you have it. If you boo Hamels, you will only make him more powerful than you can ever imagine. Maybe not, but ease up on him, yeah? I know this town is all about tough love, but you wouldn't boo Lee, would you? Sheesh, you gave Blanton a standing ovation for crying out loud.
Besides, Cole once booed Adam Eaton. And that's something that we can all get behind.