For the first time since Cole Hamels' rookie season in 2006, the Philadelphia Phillies will not be going to the playoffs. Hamels, who made his 31st and final start of the season Sunday, doesn't have any plans to watch the postseason, either. "Probably if I'm bored," Hamels said. "I think when you don't make it, you have a sense of bitterness. You really don't want to follow it as closely." A former World Series MVP, Hamels also represents the Phillies' best hope to return to the postseason after the team's five-year streak of appearing in the playoffs ended in 2012. While some of his teammates are on the wrong side of 30 and have become bothered by injuries, Hamels has been healthy, consistent and, at times, as good as any pitcher in baseball. Hamels held the Marlins to one run on five hits in the Phillies' 4-1 win in Miami on Sunday. The victory capped Hamels' season at 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA. At the conclusion of Sunday's game, Hamels ranked in the top five in the NL in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched and in the top 10 in ERA. "Cole was good (this season)," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was good again today, of course. He was consistent all year long." From the start of the season to the end, Hamels made his regular turn in the rotation and put the underachieving Phillies in position to win nearly each time he took the mound. Hamels began the season 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his first nine starts, not allowing more than three runs in any of those starts. He went on a similar run to end the season, going 6-1 with a 2.58 ERA in the final two months, again not allowing more than three runs in a start. Hamels also provided the best off-the-field highlight for Phillies fans when he avoided hitting the free-agent market last winter by signing a six-year, $144 million contract extension to remain with the organization that drafted him in the first round 10 years ago. "I'm happy with the direction I'm going; that's kind of the selfish way you look at it," Hamels said. "But I'm happy I'm going to be on this team. I like all of the possibilities that we have, knowing guys are going to be healthy next year, knowing I'm going to be here for a long time and that I can focus on what I want to do on the mound."
- Cole Hamels