Please disperse. There’s nothing to see here. Move along. This is all part of the plan.
For Cole Hamels, there is a track record that explicitly tells you not to worry about spring training results.
In nine spring trainings, Hamels has had an ERA below 5.00 only three times. In six springs it was 5.79 or higher. That 5.79? That was in 2016 with the Rangers.
So don’t lose sleep over the two, two-run homers Hamels gave up in his first spring start against the Dodgers in the first inning Friday night at Camelback Ranch.
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Cole Hamels’ spring training history Starts ERA 2007 5 6.10 2008 5 6.33 2009 2 9.39 2010 6 6.00 2011 7 6.67 2012 7 2.93 2013 5 0.95 2015 6 4.15 2016 3 5.79
Hamels certainly isn’t. He’s working on specific pitches and not paying too much attention to counts, how hitters are reacting to his pitches, and basically not in the business of trying to win in March. He’s about working, not winning, in the spring.
That’s why after being pulled after 25 pitches with just one out in the first, he went to finish his work in the bullpen.
“You can look at all my spring training numbers as far back as you want,” he said with a laugh. “I’m just trying to get my feel for the pitches.”
That means he’s concentrating more on what he’s doing and less on what the hitters are doing. Hamels is still in build-up mode.
It’s not my focus to try to follow what a guy is going to try to do in a certain count. I have stuff I need to work on and I have to be able to throw those pitches and the only way I know how to do so and create long-term success [is] getting the reps no matter what, even if the results are good or bad.
Rangers LHP Cole Hamels
“During the [regular] season you obviously have a sharpness because you have the reps built up but you’re also reading and keying off swings a little bit more and the situation with the counts,” he said. “Right now, I’m going right through that. It’s not my focus to try to follow what a guy is going to try to do in a certain count. I have stuff I need to work on and I have to be able to throw those pitches and the only way I know how to do so and create long-term success [is] getting the reps no matter what, even if the results are good or bad.”
On Friday night, Hamels was working on his fastball, curve ball and changeup. He struggled to locate his curve ball, he said, which led to two mammoth two-run homers, one by Yasiel Puig and another by Franklin Gutierrez.
“It’s just something where you have to keep establishing [your pitches] and the sharpness will come with the reps and I think that was kind of something I was able to figure out in the bullpen,” he said. “So then it’s just a matter of creating the consistency and getting the counts in my favor. If you’re able to get those counts going my way then it makes those other pitches not look as bad.”