As he stood there in the visiting clubhouse in Nationals Park last night, Cole Hamels had not been asked by his manager if he would pitch on Sunday against the Mets in New York, which would result in the skipping of Kyle Kendrick's turn in the rotation. He wasn't given the opportunity to say yes or no.
Can we at least wait until the question is asked before commencing with the ritual dismemberment of one of the best pitchers in major-league baseball?
I think he should pitch on Sunday if they ask him. I think Hamels will pitch on Sunday if they ask him. In the absence of some injury that we don't now know about, I will be disappointed if he doesn't take the ball. I think a lot of people will be.
But wait. Please, wait. Because while it is true that he did not put up his hand and volunteer last night after the game, consider his position for a second. What was he supposed to do -- put up his hand and volunteer to usurp a teammate who is struggling?
Hamels has pitched more than 200 innings. Hamels has been hurt every year before this one. Hamels hasn't yet signed the big contract. Hamels is a worrier by nature when it comes to his arm. All of this is true and it all factors in. He is cautious. He might never be the one to demand the ball in that situation -- even if it is on his regular rest day. That is all fair commentary.
But let's wait and see. Let's see how he feels today and tomorrow, after another fine outing Tuesday night. Let's see if he's as healthy as advertised after this many innings. Let's see what he says when they ask him. There really is no issue until that happens.