Hamels could be the key to the Phillies' playoff push.
If the Phillies can continue their usual strong play in the latter portion of the season, they will most likely wind up in the playoffs. Whether it's after they overtake the Atlanta Braves and win the NL East, or via the consolation prize of a wild card berth, most expect the Phils to be playing in the MLB's second season.
And if or when the Phils do make it past the regular season, their super trio of starting pitchers has to make them a favorite in the NL.
Most of the hardships this season have come from the erratic and unpredictable play of Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick. Both guys have had some gems, but both guys have also had their fair share of games that make any observer wonder why in the world either of them are in the majors.
Of course, the incredible numbers of injuries doesn't help, but that hasn't seem to have affected Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, or Roy Oswalt. Granted, Hamels record doesn't look so hot at 7-10, but with some hitting it's not out of the question for him to be sitting at 12-5 or better.
Even Halladay, who sits at 16-8, could probably be 20-4 were it not for the injuries, and the other Roy hasn't pitched a bad game for the Phils since his debut back on July 30th.
And when the playoffs roll around, the chances of Blanton or Kendrick seeing too many starts at slim. Each could possibly see a start in the first series, but after that the Phils would likely go to a three-man rotation depending on when their days off land.
Then Blanton and Kendrick can move into the bullpen as long relief guys to compliment the rest of the bullpen and all of a sudden Philly looks set.
This is a club with a healthy mix of guys who have played and won in the playoffs, and guys who would love nothing more than to finally get into the playoffs and do some winning.
Impressive pitching, along with a healthy lineup, could mean trouble for the other three NL teams entering the October tournament, and perhaps set the stage for a 2009 World Series rematch between the Phils and New York Yankees.