Any time a pitcher is traded from National League to the American League, or makes the move willingly, for that matter, there is always a big question of whether that pitcher can be as successful as he was in the NL.
Most of the time, it doesn't work out too well.
The Rangers have seen that recently from guys like Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza, who both excelled in the NL before being painfully average, at best, for the Rangers. Then, there was Yovani Gallardo last year who pitched his first season in the AL and put up career numbers.
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When Cole Hamels was traded from Philadelphia to Texas last July, he had a few adjustments to make as he joined the more pitcher-unfriendly AL, but none were bigger than learning how to pitch to the bottom of AL teams' orders that didn't include a pitcher swinging the bat.
"I think finally I was able to make everything click when I gave in and accepted the reality that I'm in this league and to just get used to it," Hamels told the Dallas Morning News. "In the NL, different guys in the lineup had different approaches or roles. In this league, everybody is a big hitter. You throw a fastball down the middle in this league and it's going to get hit out. It's so different on how you want to throw guys and what you want to do."
Hamels also said he started using his breaking ball more after his first six starts with the Rangers, in which he struggled against the bottom of orders, allowing a .348 batting average and five walks. Over his last five starts, Hamels held hitters in the bottom third of the lineup to a .179 average with just two walks.
"By the end I was able to be kind of honed in," Hamels said. "I pride myself on being consistent. It took some time to develop that consistency with my approach."