Cole Hamels has allowed four runs across 20 innings over his last three starts, lowering his ERA from 2.51 to 2.40 for the year. The unlikely secret to his recent success? Poison oak.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Hamels contracted poison oak on both of his legs while fishing on teammate Roy Oswalt’s property in Unionville, Missouri during an off-day on June 20. While Oswalt had the presence of mind to wear long pants, Hamels paid the price for wearing shorts.
“It didn’t work out too well for me,” Hamels said, smiling. “I don’t know if I’ll be fishing on (Oswalt’s) property without (long) pants on anytime soon.”
Hamels described the pain as “razor blades on the back of my legs every time I’d take a step.” The 27-year-old southpaw took quite a bit of ribbing from his teammates, but was able to pitch through the condition for subsequent starts against the Athletics on June 25 and the Red Sox on June 30 before his symptoms finally began to ease this past Tuesday against the Marlins.
Hamels, who was just named to his second All-Star team, is 10-4 with a 2.40 ERA over 18 starts this season. His 0.95 WHIP is the lowest in the National League.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.