Can Cole Hamels Lead The Texas Rangers to The Postseason?
By Andrew Webb
Even though the Texas Rangers were sellers at the trade deadline it’s not time to call them done just yet. Veteran lefty Cole Hamels kicks off an important homestand against Houston on Friday. Can Hamels be the leader this team needs to get into the postseason in 2017?
On Friday the Texas Rangers enter play at 54-59 and 3.5 games back of the American League Wild Card. They open their 10-game homestand against the first place Houston Astros. Can ace Cole Hamels lead this staff into the postseason?
The Rangers traded starter Yu Darvish at the trade deadline which made veteran lefty Hamels the ace on the roster. That is not something new to Hamels as he did win a World Series with the Phillies in 2008.
The 33-year-old lefty has plenty postseason experience and knows a thing or two about leading a staff. The difference is the Phillies 2008 staff was loaded and the Rangers staff is nowhere near as talented as that roster.
Despite that the Rangers still have a realistic shot at the postseason this season. They will need Hamels to be a leader and that starts on Friday. Hamels will face off against the Astros, a team that he is undefeated against this season.
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The Astros have run away with the American League West, but have struggled since the All-Star break. Houston is around .500 since the break and was just swept by the Chicago White Sox. This team is failing to grab any real momentum, and Texas could take advantage.
In 14 career starts Hamels is 6-3 with a 4.06 ERA against Houston. The Rangers have won all four games Hamels pitched in against the Astros this season. Currently, the Astros are 7-3 against the Rangers this season, but that could change quickly.
Since coming off the disabled list, Hamels is 4-1 with a 3.93 ERA in eight starts. He threw a complete game his last start against the Twins. Hamels is undefeated at home this season, and doesn’t look to be slowing down at all.
This season isn’t over yet, but Hamels needs to be a leader if Texas wants to have a chance. They need that “ace” pitcher to count on every fifth day. This isn’t a new role for Hamels, but it’s his first time as the No. 1 guy in Arlington.
Next: Three Ways To Improve The Rangers This Off-Season
The 10-game homestand could be the make or break moment for the Rangers. Can they pull it all together or will the team fade under the pressure? The next few weeks will be must watching baseball in Arlington.