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.