The last time Cole Hamels took the mound in a Phillies uniform, he pitched a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in a 5-0 Phillies victory. Hamels, the former ace of the Phillies’ staff and 2008 World Series MVP, will pitch at Citizens Bank Park Wednesday night for the first time since being traded to the Texas Rangers a few days after his no-hitter. He’ll do so from the opposing dugout. The team he’ll be suiting up for? The same Cubs team that he no-hit as a Phillie.
It gets even better; he’ll be opposed by Aaron Nola, who has since taken the mantle of the Phillies’ ace. All of this comes just one day after the Phillies replaced former hitting coach John Mallee with, you guessed it, Hamels’ manager during the majority of his tenure in Philadelphia, Charlie Manuel. You can’t make this stuff up. If only Harry Kalas was around to call the game.
This is not the first time Hamels will face the Phillies this season, but his other start came at Wrigley Field in Chicago. This one will be a little more special for Hamels, who did not pitch in the Cubs trip to CBP last season.
He lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and three earned runs in 99 pitches, however, Cole Irvin was even worse that night for the Phillies and the Cubs won 8-4. Hamels, now 35, is 6-3 this season with a 3.09 ERA/3.59 FIP and 105 strikeouts over 107.2 innings.
Both teams are still fighting for playoff positioning after the Phillies took game one of the series Tuesday night in a 4-2 rain-soaked victory.
Phillies PA announcer Dan Baker is currently fighting a sinus infection and will be unavailable for the game, which would have been the icing on the cake for Hamels’ CBP reunion.
As for Hamels’ future (he is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end), he could wind up back in Philadelphia for a season or two; that would be the ultimate ending to a storybook career for the left-hander. Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Hamels is “open to” returning to the Phillies.
While we cannot predict the future, we sure can watch the present unfold and, as far as regular season baseball games go, Wednesday night is a must-watch.