Cole Hamels gives Phillies fans a big going-away present

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That was probably it for Cole Hamels in a Phillies uniform. Just a nice little no-hitter in his 294th start for the team. A fond memory for fans who will have few others in a dreadful 2015 season.

Some suggested going in that this was the Phillies’ biggest game of the year. The one that determined just how big of a haul they might get in a Hamels trade with the left-hander coming off two of the worst starts of his career. It was an extreme exaggeration; suitors know Hamels’ track record and were only really concerned about whether he was healthy. Even in the lousy outings, there seemed little reason to doubt it.

So, no, Hamels’ performance didn’t do a whole lot for the Phillies, who are well on their way to claiming the first pick in the 2016 MLB draft. But it was a grand send-off, assuming that Hamels doesn’t return to the mound before Friday’s deadline. The only bummer is that the start came in Chicago, not Philadelphia.

Hamels, who struck out 13 in the first career no-no, improved to 6-7 with a 3.64 ERA for the season. He’s just 23-30 since the Phillies started to bottom out in 2013. Even when the Phillies have scored runs these last three years, they haven’t done it with Hamels on the mound. Hamels has turned in 63 quality starts in 83 tries since the beginning of 2013 (only Clayton Kershaw (68), Felix Hernandez (64) and James Shields (64) have more). He actually has more starts in which he’s allowed one or no runs (28) than he does wins during that span.

In a week’s time, Hamels figures to find himself in a Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees or Rangers uniform. Or maybe he’ll join the Cubs team he no-hit today. He’ll depart Philadelphia as one of the franchise’s top five pitchers, and at least now, those last couple of years he spent with the team won’t totally be remembered for all of the doom and gloom.