Hamels proving October is his kind of month
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The names on the list are the names of men who have carved their legend in the month of October.Josh Beckett. Randy Johnson. Curt Schilling. Jack Morris. John Smoltz. Orel Hershiser. We know their names because October was their kind of month. And they belong on that list because they once did something very few pitchers have ever done. They all won four starts in the same postseason. And now they have company. The latest name to join them on that list is a 24-year-old left-hander named Cole Hamels. And with every time the Phillies hand him the baseball, it is becoming apparent that he is one of this sport's most special talents. He won Game 1 of the 2008 World Series on Wednesday night, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in the Land of the Cowbells. It wouldn't be accurate to say he won that game for his team all by himself. But it WOULD be accurate to say the Phillies won this game, in large part, because Cole Hamels just wasn't going to let them lose it.
"You just got the feeling he was not going to let anything happen to upset that game," teammate Scott Eyre said after Hamels had finished spinning off seven innings of five-hit, two-run domination. "He was going to keep making pitches. And he was going to keep trying to get outs until they told him, 'You're done.'"He was done, as it turned out, after 102 pitches. He was done because his manager, Charlie Manuel, thought it was time to unleash his unhittable late-inning bullpen tag team, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, for a devastating, six-up, six-down, three-strikeout grand finale in the eighth and ninth.
• Hamels also is now only the fourth pitcher ever to win Game 1 of an LDS, LCS and World Series in a single postseason. The other three are Smoltz in 1996, Wells in 1998 and Beckett last year. But Hamels is the only member of that group who won three Game 1s AND a series clincher in one postseason (since he also won Game 5 of the NLCS).• Finally, Hamels' Game 1 win made him the third-youngest left-handed starter in history to win a World Series opener. Only Babe Ruth and Ray Sadecki (both 23) were younger. And Hamels is the first left-hander to win a Game 1 on the road in 22 years -- since Boston's Bruce Hurst beat the Mets in Shea Stadium in 1986. So this fellow is making it more clear, with every journey to the mound this month, that he is baseball's most irreplaceable animal -- a genuine, no-question-about-it No. 1 starter. And as his friend, teammate and mentor, Jamie Moyer, put it, "It's great to be on a team that can rely on somebody like that."
WORLD SERIES GAME 1: PHILLIES 3, RAYS 2
Cole Hamels' pitching and Chase Utley's hitting led the Phillies to a 3-2 win over the Rays in Game 1 of the 104th World Series.
Story | Series page
• Jayson Stark: October Hamels' kind of month
• Jerry Crasnick: Rays have a short memory
• Amy K. Nelson: Shields ready to go for Game 2
• Gene Woj: Rays get help from Young, Morneau
• Inside Edge reports: Phillies | Rays
• Game 1 blog
• Baseball Tonight Clubhouse: Game 2 preview
• BBTN breaks down Game 1
• Utley, Hamels lift Phillies past Rays
• Stark, Caple discuss Game 1
• Chase Utley reacts to Phils' win
• Manuel, Maddon talk about Series opener
• John Kruk on Brad Lidge's dominance
• World Series Game 2 preview
• Postgame interviews with Hamels, Utley