While the rest of the baseball world waited with baited breath on Wednesday night to see the rematch of Cole Hamels vs. Bryce Harper, the Phillies left-handed starter seemed disinterested in fanning the flames of hype beforehand.
"I had nine guys that I had to face, so it wasn't in my mind," Hamels said.
Hamels went out and pitched on Wednesday night like he didn't have a care in the world in allowing four hits and striking out eight over eight innings of work as the Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Hamels became the first pitcher in the big leagues to seven wins on the season. His seven-game winning streak is the longest of his seven-year major league career. And he is doing this in a campaign where he has been identified as the top free agent available on the pitching market of 2012-13.
"Right now, I'm just playing the game as best as I know how," Hamels said. "I'm just taking it one game at a time and one pitch at a time -- and not focusing on the big picture. It's not fair to my teammates, the organization or the fans to think about the other causes of the baseball world. I'm here right now and I'm ultimately trying to win for the fans and the organization and that's going to stick with."
Hamels mixed his cut fastball and changeup for most of the night, seeming to keep Washington hitters completely off balanced.
"He mixed his pitches real good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He mixed his fastball and changeup and was down in the strike zone."
"It was just a matter of reading the way they were swinging," Hamels said. "You try to read the swings and take it to their approach. I didn't specifically plan on what I was going to throw because it is different with every team."