Hamels dominated last night against Los Angeles pitching a five-hitter for his third career shutout, and the defending World Series champions extended their winning streak to seven games with a 3-0 victory.
The MVP of last year's NLCS and World Series, he won both starts against Los Angeles in the playoffs, including a 5-1 decision at Chavez Ravine that wrapped up the Phillies' first pennant since 1993. And for those wondering what the 25-year-old left-hander could possibly do for an encore this season, this was a good start.
"That's always something that kind of gets in your mind," said Hamels, 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA over his last seven outings. "I mean, you don't have the type of time off to really gather your thoughts and get prepared for another season. I had a little bump in the road with the elbow soreness, and that kind of delayed some things. But I'm ready to go now."
He threw 97 pitches, retiring 18 of his last 20 batters and allowing only two runners as far as second base (one of them on defensive indifference in the ninth) and became the first opposing pitcher to throw a shutout at Dodger Stadium since Arizona's Brandon Webb on Aug. 5, 2007.
"Sometimes I'll have a lot of strikeouts and sometimes I won't. But I don't want to be the big strikeout guy because it's hard on you and that really pushes up your pitch count," according to Hamels. "My past three or four games I've been going 110 pitches and only getting through the sixth. So pitch efficiency is something I've been trying to work on."
So what did LA think about the game?
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"This is one you just forget about, basically, and chalk it up to the fact that he pitched well," Juan Pierre said of the pitcher. "He threw strikes and we couldn't put any heat on him."
"The kid is good. What can you say? When he's on the mound, he ain't got time to be putting guys on base. He lets them make contact and he trusts his defense," Orlando Hudson. "He throws strikes, he doesn't walk anybody, he trusts his offspeed pitches and does a great job of moving the ball up and down and in and out."
Los Angeles has the best record in baseball at 37-19, with Philadelphia right behind at 32-20. Watch out!