As if his unblemished record in the month of May weren't enough, Phillies starter Cole Hamels earned one more victory Friday as he won the balloting for the Head and Shoulders Mane Man of the Month award.
Hamels tied for the Major League lead with five wins in May, while also posting a 2.25 ERA for the month. He capped off the month with his eighth overall victory, joining the Cardinals' Lance Lynn -- who accomplished the feat on the same day -- as the fastest pitcher to eight wins this season.
"I'm just trying to keep the same approach that I have," Hamels said after that most recent victory. "I try to go out and win as many games as I can. I'm trying to go deep into the ballgame and, obviously, not allow as many runs."
Hamels edged out sluggers Carlos Beltran, Josh Hamilton and Giancarlo Stanton in the online fan voting in a month that featured not only success, but a fair share of dramatics, for the Phillies left-hander.
In his second May start, Hamels admitted to intentionally throwing at Nationals phenom Bryce Harper in the midst of an eight-inning gem that resulted in a 9-3 Phillies victory. The pitch -- and Hamels' subsequent comments about it -- earned him a five-game suspension, but did nothing to slow his hot streak.
Hamels rattled off four straight wins, pitching at least seven innings in each, following his suspension. The third game in that stretch again came against Harper and the Nationals, just 2 1/2 weeks after the initial incident.
After allowing just one run over eight innings the first time he faced Harper's Nats, Hamels did one better the second time around, hurling eight shutout innings en route to a 4-1 victory.
"He was real good," Harper said after falling to Hamels for a second time. "Every pitch was working for him. Fastball, curveball, changeup, cutter, he had it. He threw the ball well tonight, painted it up, all the effort he gave, he did a great job."
Making Hamels' month-long performance all the more impressive was the fact that he helped keep the Phillies afloat during a month in which staff aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee combined to win just one game. Lee remains winless on the season, while Halladay went 1-3 during May and suffered a strained right latissimus dorsi that is expected to keep him out until at least mid-July.
Regardless of whether he's considered the Phillies' No. 3 or No. 4 starter on the depth chart, as he has been since the start of last season, or if he's bumped up to No. 2 with Halladay's injury, Hamels plans on taking the mound all season with the same philosophy that he did last month.
"I think that's going to be the same approach that [Joe] Blanton and Cliff and [Kyle Kendrick] and whoever now has to fill the role of Doc [all take]," Hamels said. "But we know that our goal is to really go out there and make pitches and not worry about anything else. We're not going to put any added stress onto what we already have to do."