Chicago Cubs continue riding the strength of their starting rotation

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Left-hander Cole Hamels twirled a gem on Friday afternoon, continuing a recent trend of solid performances by the Chicago Cubs starting rotation.

Cole Hamels‘ eight-inning effort on Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals may have been the sharpest I, personally, have seen him as a member of the Chicago Cubs. From start to finish, he was changing speeds, altering the eye level of hitters and carving up the entire lineup, allowing just three hits and a walk.

Getting quality from Hamels is really nothing new. We all know the shot in the arm he gave the Cubs after he came over from the Texas Rangers last summer, pitching to a 2.36 ERA in a dozen starts and even taking home National League Pitcher of the Month in August 2018. By and large, he’s carried that same quality into his first full season on the North Side.

"“Did you notice the counts?” Joe Maddon asked after Friday’s win. “The first three or four innings, it seemed like everything was 1-2. Great command of his changeup. Fastball was hotter. I saw more 92 [mph pitches] and 93 [mph pitches] consistently today. So hotter fastball, total command of his changeup and much better counts. So when you get to that point, hitters just can’t relax and sit on things. He was unpredictable and very accurate.”"

Hamels struck out 10 and walked just one – dominating St. Louis for the second time in a week. Last time, he was outdueled by Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright – despite not allowing an earned run. This time, though, he came away with the win – and a bit of a pep in his step after continuing his career dominance against the Cubs’ arch rival. In 16 starts against the Redbirds, Hamels boasts an impressive 2.29 ERA and 0.934 WHIP.