When the Braves signed Cole Hamels to a one-year, $18MM deal, he checked all the right boxes: veteran, short-term deal, fierce competitor, playoff-tested, particularly painful for a playoff rival. But triceps tendinitis has kept Hamels from the hill and forced the Braves to turn to Plan B lefties like Tommy Milone, Sean Newcomb, and Robbie Erlin. Some solutions have worked better than others, but despite a rotation in constant flux, Atlanta holds a 2-game lead in the NL East with less than 20 games to play.
Their need for Hamels is no less intense, however, because while the season itself has gone by in the blink of an eye, the playoffs will actually be longer than usual. For a team with back-to-back NLDS losses, the Braves are well aware of the potential pitfalls awaiting them in the postseason. So it’s not a moment too soon that Hamels could be nearing his return.
The veteran lefty threw live batting practice to Ozzie Albies on Sunday, leaving the Braves encouraged about the potential return of both players, per The Athletic’s David O’Brien (via Twitter). The Braves will wait another couple of days before letting Hamels throw a similar session, but if there are no red flags, Hamels could return to the rotation shortly thereafter.
As with many pitchers who have returned in this single-league environment – such as Charlie Morton of the Rays – Hamels may ease back into the rotation with 1-2 inning outings at a time. That doesn’t give the Braves and Hamels unlimited time to get him on track before the postseason, but he could still get 2-3 tune-ups before the playoffs.
Hamels has run hot-and-cold in recent seasons with the Chicago Cubs, nonetheless sustaining the comeback that began with 12 starts of a 2.36 ERA to finish 2018 after his exile in Texas. In his lone full season with the Cubs, Hamels went 7-7 in 27 starts with a 3.81 ERA/4.09 FIP over 141 2/3 innings. Hamels could return to the roster as soon as Monday, per Baseball America’s Gabe Burns (via Twitter). The Braves certainly don’t want to rush the 36-year-old back into action, but with Max Fried going on the injured list, there’s cause for urgency in Atlanta.
As a Rangers/Cubs fan, wish nothing but the best for Cole Hamels – class act / true professional
Ah, everyone jumping on that rangers/cubs wagon these days :/ lol
What’ worst is Rangers/Mets. I get the best of two disappointing worlds lol.
Just need a reliable 5 innings from Hamels. The Braves bullpen can do the rest. Even 5 innings of 1-2 runs is a huge upgrade on what they have been getting
Wright starts tonight. Prayers appreciated.
Lol RunDMC …. lol prayers indeed appreciate especially after Fried going on the DL.
Look Hamels for 5 innings would be a dream.. if we can get him through just 4 innings without imploding like some of our guys do, that would be amazing lol
I wonder if some of the Braves pitching woes could be tied to their pitching coach. They seem to be having failures almost across the board with their young starting pitchers.
Idk about major league pitching coach, but definitely someone along the player development track is missing the boat bad with these guys. Bryce Wilson is actually a good example. Puts great numbers up in the minors, early on video game like numbers…. gets to the pros and all heck breaks loose. People keep talking about his stuff not being good enough, but it clearly is. There is some missing link somewhere that’s just not clicking… pitch calling, strategy, psychology, idk but it’s getting frustrating to see the Wilsons and wrights of the world struggling
I’m a die hard Braves fun but just don’t understand the negativity. Fried, Soroka, and Anderson all look to be legit top of the rotation arms and all developed in house. I understand Wilson and Wright aren’t developing like most would hope but maybe they just aren’t good enough. It seems Braves fans are being a tad unreasonable in thinking ALL of their SP prospects should develop into useful pieces. All teams miss on most prospects and we aren’t an exception.
Out of all the pitching prospects, that have been through Atlanta or are in Atlanta’s system now, those three are really the only ones who have held their ceiling.
There are a lot more misses than there are potential #1’s, #2’s or #3’s. That’s the issue. That and Atlanta holding onto pitching prospects for too long, to see their value go way down and can no longer upgrade the Major league team when needed.
At some point Atlanta should have traded from their prospect stock, and gotten SOMETHING of value for it.
Right, you’re only seeing the handful of successes. But there is a even bigger handful of failures or guys that appear to be failing (albeit we still need time on most to make a final decision). Ex.) Wisler, Blair, Allard, Jenkins, Touki, Wilson, Wright, Sims… I believe most of not all those guys were top 100 prospects at one point or another… we still will find out about the Wentz, Muller, and Anderson’s of the world…. it just seems we are missing bad on guys who should have been locks
Wilson’s stuff really isn’t that good though. His fastball is way too straight and the breaking stuff is inconsistent. Wright just looks like he has no idea how to pitch.
I agree he needs a cut fastball or something to put some movement on the ball. But if u watch the difference between his minors and pro is his location. He doesn’t spot up when he gets to the pros like he does in the minors. His stuff plays well when he spots up…
Leo Mazzone is who they need
I get no going all in during a season where Soroka is out but they’re still a good team that could use more controllable pitching. I think they should’ve gone out and got Clevinger
Did the Braves seriously have one injured player pitch to another injured player? Braves Players had to be betting on that lol.