Cole Hamels is finally ready to take his throne.
After years of playing second and even third fiddle to guys like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Hamels is the Phillies’ undisputed ace. He’ll make it official Monday night when he takes the mound in the first Opening Day start.
“A lot of great pitchers have had that honor, and to be one of them, it’s something I will cherish,” Hamels told reporters. “To be able to get your team off to the right start sets the tone for the entire season. It’s something I’ll be able to remember for a really long time. At the same time, I’m looking forward to the season. It’s going to be a great season.”
With Halladay’s status very uncertain and Lee looking to bounce back from an up-and-down 2012 season, the Phils will turn to Hamels early and often in 2013. He’s still the youngest of the so-called aces — and still the only way with a World Series ring. Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension last season because he believes this group can win another World Series.
“That’s the attitude that we’re getting. You can feel it in the clubhouse,” Hamels said.