After a long time waiting, Atlanta Braves fans finally got a look at Cole Hamels on Wednesday as he made his 2020 debut.
It’s wasn’t a glorious outing for Hamels, especially when you consider the lineup he was going up against, but in terms of getting out there and looking sharp I’d say it was a success.
He threw 52 pitches over 3.1 innings allowing 3 earned runs on 3 hits and a walk with 2 strikeouts.
All of the runs he allowed came in the third inning.
But this was more about Hamels getting back out on the mound, showing he’s healthy, and showing he can help lead this young rotation in the postseason.
Let’s take a further look at the outing and see if he checked off any of those boxes.
According to Baseball Savant, he threw 16 cutters, 15 change-ups, eight curveballs, eight four-seamers, and 5 sinkers.
The fastball and sinker sat around 88 MPH and I believe topped out at 91 MPH. That’s a good bit lower than where those pitches were last season sitting around 91 MPH.
All of his other pitches were also about 2 MPH lower than last year, but he could also still just be getting his strength back.
It will certainly be interesting to see in his next start if those numbers go back up.
He threw 34 strikes and 18 balls and threw a first-pitch strike to nine of the 14 batters he faced.
I would certainly say the command was there. He was ahead in the count 0-2 on the lone guy that he ended up walking.
It’s interesting to note that all 3 hits he surrendered came on his change-up, which was his best pitch last year and throughout most of his career.
But, he also got the most swings-and-misses on his change-up with three. He got two whiffs on his cutter and one on the curveball.
Going back to our questions above about what we needed to see from Hamels in this outing — I certainly think he proved he’s healthy and can be effective.
However, I’m not ready to say that he can lead our rotation in the postseason and go up against other teams’ one and two starters.
In his next outing, which will actually be a big game against the Miami Marlins next Monday, I’d obviously love to see him work deeper into the game and possibly get through five innings.
It would be great to see his velocity tick back up to where it was last year.
But for his first start of the season, I think we mostly got what we expected. However, we’re certainly hoping for more as the Braves gear up for the postseason where they’ll need a top of the rotation Hamels.