Beyond the Box Score: Cole Hamels and Run Support

DREW HALLOWELL/GETTY IMAGES

DREW HALLOWELL/GETTY IMAGES

By now, every Phillies fan knows that it’s very likely it is just a matter of time before Cole Hamels is no longer taking the mound in red pinstripes. With the trade deadline now just two weeks away, the only questions we are waiting to have answered are who is he being traded to and most importantly, what are we getting back in return.

Until those t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted and Cole Hamels is officially on the move, it’s worth taking a look at the season he’s having and the run support, or lack there of, that he’s been receiving.

Since signing his 6-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies in July of 2012, Hamels has lived up to his contract. Record aside, since the start of the 2013 season, Hamels has carried a 3.17 ERA in 81 starts. He’s posted 523 strikeouts in 541 1/3 innings pitched, nearly 1 per inning. More importantly, he’s been durable. He’s had at least 30 starts in each of the last 7 seasons and with 18 starts already under his belt, is already well on his way to hitting that mark again this year.

But the stat that continues to come up with Cole Hamels is run support, or lack there of. As good as Hamels has been these last 2+ seasons, he has just 22 wins.

Anybody watching the Phillies this season, casually or day in and day out, knows that they struggle to score runs. With just 308 runs scored heading into the All-Star break, the Phillies rank 29th out of 30 teams, ahead of only the Chicago White Sox (292).

When you look at the league leaders in terms of poorest run support, it’s no surprise that with 2.72 runs of support per start, Cole Hamels ranks as the 5th worst among qualified starting pitchers in all of baseball. Only 4 pitchers receive less run support per start, including Phillies start Aaron Harang. To put it into perspective, only 2 pitchers in 2014, Eric Stults of the Padres and Alex Wood of the Braves, received less than an average of 3 runs of support per start through the entire season.

While 2.72 is ridiculously low, I got to thinking. Given the number of starts that Hamels has had this year where he pitched extremely well, but the Phillies ended up scoring all of their runs after he was taken out of the game, what does his run support look like per game when he is pitching.

In the 18 games that Hamels started this season, the Phillies team has scored just 49 runs. While Cole was still in the game however, the Phillies put up just 31 runs. For those of you doing the math and playing at home, that’s just 1.72 runs of support per start while Hamels is on the hill.

While this isn’t a stat measured regularly, it’s one that puts into perspective how good Cole Hamels has been this season. With just weeks left before the trade deadline, now isn’t the time to sell low on a starting pitcher who has been and done everything asked of him.

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