Hamels: Cubs tenure to be 'tremendous journey'

Left-hander hoping to reach postseason with new team

July 27th, 2018

ST. LOUIS -- Cole Hamels was already talking about pitching in October with the Cubs before he even put on his new uniform.

"I'm excited to be able to continue my baseball career with the Cubs," Hamels said Friday. "It's been a dream come true to grow up watching the Cubs play as a kid. Always enjoyed playing at Wrigley, so I think to be able to be a part of that organization with the group of guys that they have, I'm really excited to get that started and head into the postseason with those guys.

"I've been fortunate in my career to get numerous postseason appearances," Hamels said. "It's always that chase for that World Series, and once you get one, you start to realize how difficult it is to achieve that matter. Knowing that I'm going to a team that has the best of intentions and such a strong desire to win another one, definitely want to be a part of that and try to help them do so. Especially in that city, they love baseball so much, it will be a tremendous journey for the next couple months."

Hamels met with the media in Arlington, Texas, after being traded to the Cubs for three players, including pitcher Eddie Butler. Hamels -- who will make his Chicago debut on Wednesday against the Pirates -- went from a last-place team to one with the best record in the National League, and he is looking ahead.

The lefty, who was part of the Phillies' World Series championship team in 2008, said it was a "letdown" to leave the Rangers without winning it all.

"Now it's going back to focus on postseason baseball and winning baseball, and that's what I enjoy most and that's what I'm comfortable doing," Hamels said.

When Hamels gets to Chicago, he'll be pitching in a ballpark he likes. On July 25, 2015, Hamels threw a no-hitter at Wrigley Field in his final start with the Phillies before he was traded to the Rangers. Hamels is 3-1 with a 1.76 ERA in six career starts at Wrigley.

"I've pitched numerous times against [Joe] Maddon's teams ever since I was 19 in a Hall of Fame Game," Hamels said. "I've thoroughly enjoyed his style and what he's been able to do with his teams. It's also knowing what baseball means to Chicago. That's I think why it's been fun to go pitch at Wrigley. I've enjoyed being a part of that historical area and that fan base. It brings back great memories of being a kid and watching them on TV."

This season, Hamels is 5-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts, but his home/road splits reveal a different story. He went 1-7 with a 6.41 ERA in 10 starts at Globe Life Park, serving up 16 home runs, but he has fared much better on the road, posting a 4-2 record and a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts.

"Change of scenery always does help," Hamels said. "It's something you don't wish for every time you struggle. Knowing that the group of guys and what they've been able to accomplish and what their mindset is and to fit in, you don't have to take it on 100 percent to carry. It's a slow process to getting back to what you're capable of doing, I think that's what winning is. It takes everybody."

Hamels was looking forward to being reunited with , who played with him on the Rangers.

"It was a great experience to be able to pitch with him," Hamels said. "I know it didn't go the way we both hoped. I hope this time will be the right way. At least I know I'll have a throwing partner, and maybe he can perfect my slider. I know he still needs to work on his changeup."