Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels was forced from his last start after a line drive struck him in the glove hand. The ball bounced off his body, and although he recovered in time to make the play at first, he was forced from the game after the inning ended.
Hamels stressed for several days that he wouldn't miss his next start but you had to wonder how he was going to perform.
There was no need to worry.
Although Hamels' strong pitching performance was overshadowed by the 14-run outburst by the Phillies' bats, analyst Chris Coste stated--and I agree--that the real hero of the game was Cole Hamels.
Hamels pitched eight strong innings, allowing just two runs. The Phillies scored 11 more runs than they would have needed to collect the victory.
The victory was the tenth of the season for Hamels, who had been hampered by a lack of run support over his last few starts. He lowered his ERA to 2.40, the second best mark in the National League.
More importantly, he erased any doubts that he would need to miss some time with the minor injury he sustained in his last start.
With the All-Star break less than a week away, Cole Hamels is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball.