You know the rotation is scary good (when healthy), when you are happy you miss both C Lee and R Halladay, but still have to face another ace in Cole Hamels. The Mets beat him up badly back in April, but he rebounded in his last start May 28th and threw 7 quality innings, striking out 10. Here's the scouting report from then, with his updated stats.
This year he's 11-4 (19 starts, 132 innings), with a 2.32 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 rate and miniscule 1.6 BB/9 rate. He's increased his ground ball rate, and is having the best season of his career. He's increased the use of his cutter to 22%, and he has three plus pitches now (fastball, change and cutter). He used to struggle versus right-handers, but he's limiting them to a .196 batting average this year. He's a serious contender to win the Cy Young award this year (but it's tough to win the Cy Young for his own team).
27 Years Old
6th major league season
Bats L/Throws L
The 27-year old Hamels went from a future ace after his stellar post-season in 2008 to a failure in the eyes of Phillies fans after 2009, and back to an ace during 2010. So which pitcher is Cole? Some where in between, but closer to the ace. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2002 draft and made his major league debut in 2006. He had some durability/character issues in the minors (elbow pain, back discomfort, broken arm in a possible fight in high school, and broke a bone in his hand in a bar room fight), but he has a career 60-45 record in the big leagues, with a 3.53 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. In 2009, he was highly unlucky (.325 BAPIP), while his strikeout and walk rates remained the same from 2008. He added a cutter last year, but more importantly his BAPIP regressed to .289, and he saw his ERA drop from 4.32 in 2009 to 3.06 in 2010, and his WHIP go from 1.29 to 1.18.
Hamels has a smooth high 3/4s arm action and was a fly-ball pitcher (the cutter has made him more of a ground-ball pitcher this year as noted above). He throws his fastball 90-93 mph (92 mph average was the highest of his major league career, up 2 mph from 2009), and possesses one of the best change-ups in the game (82 mph). He occasionally throws a show me curve-ball (76 mph), and added a cutter last year (89 mph). His strike out pitch is his change-up, but also has been getting strikeouts/swings and misses on fastballs out of the zone. He averaged 9.2 K/9 last year and his swing and miss % was 11.9%.
In his 15 career starts versus the Mets, he's struggled. He's 3-9 with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. The 4.22 ERA is the highest ERA versus any team he's faced 10+ times in his career. Last year the Mets beat him in all 4 starts, although he had a 3.20 ERA in those 25 innings, including two back to back starts in August that he lost 1-0.