New mustache but with the same result.
Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels just keeps on winning and putting on a display in the process. The lefty tossed a gem on Friday night at The Globe against the division rival Los Angeles Angels, not allowing a run in just over seven innings of work while striking out six to run his record to 4-0 on the season.
Hamels missed some time last month due to an oblique injury but took no time at all regaining his form upon return. He’s won two consecutive starts and had retired 24 straight hitters until giving up a two-out single in the second inning in the win over the Halos.
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What’s even more impressive is Hamels has a 26-6 record in 52 regular season starts as a member of the Rangers and the team is 38-14 in those games. Looks like that trade with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015 to bring Hollywood to Arlington in exchange for prospects turned out to be good one for Texas.
So does all this make Hamels the ace of the Rangers staff?
While there is the belief that Yu Darvish is the ace, it’s hard not to argue on behalf of Hamels for that spot. Sure, Darvish is one of the top pitchers in baseball when his stuff is working, but Hamels is that solid rock that finds a way to get the job done more often than not.
Take away last year’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, where both pitchers got bruised by the Jays lineup, and Hamels has the playoff resume that stands out. Hamels is a career 7-6 in the postseason with a 3.48 ERA but two of those losses are with the Rangers. He basically arrived on the scene in 2008 after walking away with the World Series MVP when the Phillies won it all. Hamels threw a total of 35 innings during the postseason, and held opponents scoreless in 28 of them.
Granted, Darvish hasn’t had the postseason opportunities that Hamels had in both Texas and Philly. A career 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in two playoff starts isn’t worth writing home about but it’s a small sample that’s hard to either dismiss or defend.
Plus, Hamels isn’t leaving anytime soon since he’s not a free agent until 2020. Darvish, on the other hand, is a free agent at the end of the season and it remains unclear whether Arlington is the home for Yu after the year.
Right now, Darvish is an All-Star but the nod may go to Hamels as the ace. Either way, it's a good problem to have when you two of the best in the business is on the staff.
Let the debate continue on.