Hamels still has chance to make history

Hamels still has chance to make history

PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels said it wasn't the perfect last outing that he could have envisioned for himself, but with a little help, he still could become the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to go 5-0 in five postseason starts.

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The left-hander is due to lead off the sixth inning whenever Game 5 of the World Series resumes -- as early as 8:37 p.m. ET on Wednesday, weather permitting. It is the first suspended-play game in World Series history, and Hamels is expected to be replaced by a pinch-hitter with the Phillies and Rays tied at 2.

The only possible way Hamels bats in that instance is if the rain goes on for days and he has enough rest to go back out to the mound for the remaining innings, thus taking his scheduled at-bat. A pinch-hitter has not been announced yet, as the suspension was announced between half-innings while rain poured on Citizens Bank Park.

In the likelihood that the Phillies bat for Hamels in the sixth, then he would be in line for a decision should the Phillies score that inning and hold onto the lead for the victory and the World Series championship. If they don't score and a Phillies reliever takes the mound for the seventh -- or if they do score but the bullpen blows the lead -- then Hamels will get no decision.

Randy Johnson went 5-1 for Arizona in 2001. Johnson's last victory was the famous relief appearance against the Yankees in Game 7. Hamels would be the first to go 5-0 all as a starter. Before 1969, starting pitchers had only the opportunity to win in the World Series, as a second round was added with expansion and later a third round.

"It's not the way you want to finish your last start of the year," Hamels said after play was stopped, "but you just have to let Mother Nature win and trust your bullpen."

In the unfortunate-for-Philly scenario of the Rays winning Games 5 and 6, Hamels would be in line for consideration to pitch Game 7 on three days rest if that game were played on Friday, or on four days rest if poor weather persists or the travel day originally expected on Tuesday is rescheduled, pushing the Series back an additional day. Game 7 would then be played on Saturday -- as long as Game 5 is completed on Wednesday. Otherwise, it could be later.

Hamels threw 75 pitches in six innings of the suspended game. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has not been inclined to use Hamels on short rest previously; then again, circumstances, if a Game 7 were played on Friday, would be far from typical.

Hamels beat the Brewers in the National League Division Series opener (eight scoreless innings), and then he won the opener of the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers as well as the pennant-clinching Game 5. He improved to 4-0 by outdueling Scott Kazmir in the World Series opener. He has won three series openers, and with help from the Phillies, he still could wind up winning a second clincher.

If you look at the left side of the MLB.com homepage, you can see the images of Grant Balfour and Hamels. That's because they are still officially the pitchers in the game. Rays manager Joe Maddon has said Balfour will come out and resume throwing the bottom of the sixth, with the batter to be announced.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.