It took until their 50th game of the season, but the Braves are finally getting Cole Hamels on the mound.
The longtime former Phillie makes his debut for Atlanta tonight in Baltimore and is expected to throw around 60 pitches.
Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Braves in early December but has encountered more arm issues in these last nine months than he did the first 14 years of his big-league career.
Hamels dealt with a shoulder injury before spring training began. Despite opening day being pushed back four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hamels still wasn't ready because of a setback in his triceps.
The Braves are getting him back at a good time. The playoffs begin in two weeks and Atlanta's rotation is a mess.
The Braves' best starting pitcher this season, by far, has been Max Fried, who is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA in nine starts. He is due back Friday after missing two starts with a back injury.
Mike Soroka is out for the season with a torn Achilles and Mike Foltynewicz was designated for assignment early in the season after a big velocity dip.
Rookie Ian Anderson has a 1.64 ERA in four starts but every other starting pitcher the Braves have right now (Josh Tomlin, Tommy Milone, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Robbie Erlin) is a No. 6 starter.
The Phillies and Braves are finished playing in the regular season, but there is a real chance these teams meet for the first-round Best of 3. If the season ended this morning, the Phillies would play the Cubs in the 2-7 matchup, while the Braves would host the Cardinals in the 3-6 game.
The Cubs and Braves are both 29-20 but Chicago owns the tiebreaker (division record).
Hamels has faced the Phillies only twice in his career. Both games were last season with the Cubs, and the Phillies tore him up, going 18 for 35 (.514) with six doubles and a homer. Hamels allowed 11 runs in six innings.
This still looks super weird.