Cole Hamels’ 2009 season was a disaster following his heroics in the 2008 Postseason. In 2010, Hamels returned to that form, and capped it off by dominating in the clinching game of the NLDS against the Reds.
The Phillies took the early lead on an error, and were clinging to that one-run lead until the sixth, when Chase Utley went deep for the first home run on the 2010 Postseason for the Phillies. With no further offense, Cole Hamels twirled his best masterpiece of 2010. He held the Reds to just two hits in the series finale, and the Phillies celebrated another birth in the NLCS, winning Game 3 against the Reds to sweep the NLDS, 2-0.
The Phillies had never been in a position to sweep a Postseason series in their recent runs, and hadn’t completed a playoff sweep in franchise history. The 2008 World Series MVP thought it was time to change that. His masterful performance in controlling the Reds, who came in the top offense in baseball in 2010, and the job was complete. The Phillies were back in the NLCS, and it didn’t look, at that time, like anyone would stop them. The pitching that series had been tremendous and the Reds finished 2010 the same way the Phillies finished 2007, swept out of their first playoff appearance in more than a decade by the Rockies. The Phillies ability to control the Reds was overall an impressive task, but it was the fact that Hamels, who had converted his image back to the pitcher he was in 2008, finished the job with one of the top Postseason pitching performances for the Phillies this season.
This game ranks because of the history that was capped in the entire series. After two games that went two very different directions, Game 3 was a pitcher’s gem, and for the Phillies to just sweep the Reds again, the same way they did in July, makes this a huge series. This is one of the Phillies biggest Postseason series wins in franchise history, and sadly this season was the only one, but it was the confidence the team showed through this whole series, capped by the Game 3 win that showed this team had a real chance to go back to the Promised Land. If only that second Postseason series had gone just a bit differently.