While I would be hard-pressed to say everything came together in last night's taut 1-0 victory over Milwaukee -- after all, the Phillies managed a mere four hits -- nevertheless it was a very satisfying game.
Cole Hamels continued to establish himself as one of the league's premier lefties. Here is MLB.com's Todd Zolecki on Hamels' latest performance: [He] carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Brewers and allowed just three hits in seven scoreless innings. He has thrown 18 consecutive scoreless innings, dating to an Aug. 24 start against the Houston Astros. He has a 2.00 ERA in his past 11 starts. His fastball is hitting 94 mph consistently. His changeup is as good as it has ever been. He is throwing his curveball and cutter splendidly.
Last night Hamels even got a rare victory given the meager run support his mates provide. Fittingly, battery mate Carlos Ruiz, whom Hamels trusts implicitly these days, drove in the only run. Jose Contreras worked the eighth and Ryan Madson faced the top of the Brewers order in the ninth, concluding with a dramatic strikeout of the always dangerous Ryan Braun. Madson thus tantalized the faithful once again who yearn for a reliable closer.
The night belonged to Hamels, however. He looked dominant early on, his fastball popping, and his changeup was better than ever when he spotted it along with his breaking stuff. He appeared to have no-no stuff going and indeed, carried one into the fifth inning. Hamels looks confident and what's more, acts it.
He has arrived.