ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Cole Hamels got off to a rough start on Wednesday night in his final outing of the regular season. But he finished strong, the Rangers rallied for an 8-5 victory over the Brewers, and Hamels said he is ready for postseason.
Hamels is expected to be the Game 1 starter for the Rangers when the American League Division Series opens up against an opponent to be determined on Thursday, Oct. 6.
"I think with the timing of everything, knowing how we're going to line it up, there's going to be enough of a break for all of us to get the right types of workouts in, get the recovery time in," Hamels said. "I think that's always going to be key. When you're able to win the division about a week ahead of time, you get that luxury. But at the same time, you have to stay sharp. You have to make sure your body is in the best possible shape and mentally, you always have to stay with it."
Hamels received a no-decision on Wednesday so he finishes 15-5 with a 3.32 ERA. Hamels went seven innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits and no walks. He struck out six, giving him 200 for the season, and the seven innings left him at 200 2/3 on the year.
It's the fifth 200-strikeout season of Hamels' career and the seventh straight season he has pitched at least 200 innings. That's going to be the longest active streak in the Majors once this season is over.
But Hamels wasn't interested in discussing milestones. At this point it's all about winning and being ready for the postseason.
"It's great to see the energy that we have," Hamels said. "You see that we have a deep desire. Everybody's pushing each other to make sure we achieve it. We're always trying to pick each other up in certain situations because baseball is baseball. You're going to see something no one has ever experienced or seen in years. But we're staying with each other, we're a tight-knit group. We're trying to get the best out of each other."
Hamels' night started with a bang, giving up a home run on the first pitch of the game to Jonathan Villar. The Brewers scored five runs off him in the first three innings by going 7-for-14 and taking advantage of some Rangers defensive lapses. But Hamels responded with four scoreless innings and in that stretch the Brewers were 1-for-13 off him.
"Early on, hard contact in the zone, it looked like he was trying to be aggressive," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The fourth through the seventh [innings], the changeup and curveball came into play ... kept them off-balance, got stronger and better as the game went on.
"I felt it was a good night for Cole. He found his rhythm, he found his pitches, he found his off-speed stuff ... it was a good competitive outing from Cole."
That's what the Rangers needed going into postseason.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.