Cole Hamels hasn't been as sharp this year as he was in his two-plus months with the Rangers at the end of the 2015 season.
Make no mistake, he's still been the club's ace as he saw his long personal unbeaten streak finally end on Friday with what was his worst start as a Ranger.
In 4 2/3 innings against the Pirates, he allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with two walks and two home runs. Then, he watched Yu Darvish give us the first Hamels-Darvish back-to-back games performance with a gem in his return from Tommy John surgery, and all seemed well again as the Rangers haven't lost a game since that Hamels outing.
On Wednesday, he'll hope to extend the win streak to five games and let Darvish make a run at six on Friday night against the Mariners.
Hamels has been on a bit of a roller coaster this year, as the start before last he went eight innings and fanned 11 batters while allowing one earned run. In his 10 starts this year, only six have been quality starts, which is fairly sad when you compare it to someone like Colby Lewis or even Martin Perez.
But Hamels is still the ace, at least until Darvish is 100 percent and rolling again, and he'll try to get back to that mindset with the chance of a sweep on Wednesday in Cleveland.