Chicago Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels struck out nine batters and got the win in his debut with the team on Wednesday night, but what you may not know is that he joined some pretty elite company with his performance.
Hamels, whom the Cubs acquired in a deal with the Texas Rangers just before the MLB trade deadline, pitched five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving up zero earned runs and striking out nine batters in the team’s 9-2 victory at PNC Park.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the performance was not only strong, but it was nearly unprecedented.
In the last 106 years, since earned runs became an officially tracked stat in the National League, Hamels is one of only four Cubs pitchers to strike out nine or more batters and give up zero earned runs in his debut with the team.
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The last Cubs pitcher to accomplish the feat is actually still with the team, as Jose Quintana struck out 12 Baltimore Orioles in his debut last season. Rich Harden fanned 10 batters in his 2008 debut with the Cubs, and before that, it was Phil Douglas doing the honors, striking out 10 batters in a 1915 game for the Cubs.
Hamels is next slated to pitch on Monday against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.