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Torch passed: Phillies name Cole Hamels opening day starter

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Hamels will get the opening day nod over Lee, Halladay. (USATSI)

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The Phillies' opening day starter this season will be Cole Hamels, the club announced Thursday. This isn't surprising, but it's noteworthy due to the symbolic passing of the torch atop the Phillies' rotation.

The opening day starter isn't overly important, other than that it's an indicator of who the team believes to be its ace. And this will be Hamels' first opening day start of his career. A three-time All-Star and one of baseball's best pitchers, he finally gets the nod in his eighth big-league season.

Last season, Roy Halladay got the opening day assignment, just as he did in 2011 and 2010. Before that, Brett Myers was the Phillies' opening day starter over Cole Hamels (2007-09).

In fact, Hamels didn't start until the Phillies' fourth game in 2011 and 2012. Even if people said the Phillies have three aces (or four, when Roy Oswalt was aboard), Hamels has always been at the end of the line. Until now.

With this announcement, the likes of Halladay and Cliff Lee are placed behind Hamels in the rotation. He is now the ace, even if you still wanna say they have three aces.

Hamels, 29, went 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 216 strikeouts in 215 1/3 innings pitched last season, finishing eighth in NL Cy Young voting.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook. Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: @MattSnyder27, @daynperry and @mikeaxisa.

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