Cole Hamels reaches a milestone, but the Cubs’ offense can’t get him a win

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 18: Starting pitcher Cole Hamels #35 of the Chicago Cubs tips his hat to the crowd as they cheer his 2,500th career strikeout against the Chicago White Sox at Wrigley Field on June 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

CHICAGO – Over the last year, he’s found a second wind as a member of the Chicago Cubs, and it’s very much appreciated by the franchise.

Struggling in Texas, Cole Hamels found success at the end of the 2018 season and has continued his strong pitching to begin the 2019 season. He entered Tuesday’s game with the White Sox with a 6-2 record and a 2.98 ERA, striking out 83 batters compared to just 30 walks.

As he nears the year anniversary of his acquisition, Hamels reached a milestone in his very successful career against the White Sox at Wrigley Field.

With a third inning strikeout of Ivan Nova, Hamels notched the 2,500 “K” of his career, becoming the tenth left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball history to accomplish the feat.

When news of the milestone was put up on the left field video board, the crowd of both Cubs and White Sox fans gave Hamels a standing ovation, to which the pitcher acknowledged with a tip of the cap.

For the rest of the game, the pitcher did enough to be able to get a victory along with the career milestone, but unfortunately, his team’s hitting couldn’t provide any support. Hamels allowed just one run over seven innings, striking out eight batters while walking just two, but all the Cubs’ offense could muster while he was on the mound was a leadoff homer by Kyle Schwarber.

That would come back to bite the Cubs in the ninth when former prospect Eloy Jimenez knocked a two-run homer into the left field bleachers off Pedro Strop to give the White Sox a 3-1 victory. The Cubs managed just three hits in the final four innings, only getting a runner to third base in the sixth inning, as the team lost for the fourth time in five games.

“We’ve got to score more than one run. That’s a nice play (Jimenez’s homer) and everything, but we’ve got to score more than one run,” said manager Joe Maddon of Tuesday’s loss. “That’s the tale of the tape tonight. They got us late. But we just have to do a better job offensively.”

Offensive outages haven’t been as common as 2018, but they’ve crept up from time to time during this season. The Cubs managed just two runs on Sunday in a loss to the Dodgers and didn’t get the offense in their win on Saturday until Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the ninth.

Yet unlike other times this season, Maddon wasn’t upset at the way the Cubs approached their hitting against the White Sox. For whatever reason, it just didn’t come together.

“Tonight we put the ball in play, we had some good swings. I don’t think we chased necessarily tonight. I think more recently we have been. But tonight, we hit a couple of balls square, but not enough. We did not put enough pressure on them offensively,” said Maddon. “I could have told you in some previous games that we were expanding the zone too much, etcetera, but not today. We moved the baseball, we had some good swings. We just didn’t score any runs.”

That’s too bad for Hamels, who deserved a victory along with a career milestone.

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