"It's pretty high up there," Hamels said. "All the hard work that you do in the offseason and spring training, it comes out when you are able to go out on the field and put up the six, the seven, the eight, even the nine innings continuously. That just shows how durable you are. I think that's what we all try to pride ourselves on, who can last the longest, how long can they last."
For the second straight start, Hamels was masterful, holding the Marlins to seven hits and one walk while striking out five in his nine innings of work. His previous outing, he held the Braves to five hits with six strikeouts in a complete-game shutout. That night, he did not allow an extra-base hit. Against the Marlins, he allowed one, a double by Giancarlo Stanton in the ninth inning.
"Nights like that, what do you want me to say?" manager Charlie Manuel said after the victory, which improved the Phillies to 53-62.
Hamels has done most of the talking with his pitching. The last runs he allowed came in the third inning of his 3-0 loss to the Nationals on Aug. 2. Since then, he has logged 22 straight innings without surrendering a run. During that stretch, he has 15 strikeouts and one walk with two extra-base hits.
Midway through August, Hamels is suddenly right in the thick of the conversation for the National League Cy Young Award, something his manager has long thought him capable of winning.
"He's had that for 2 or 3 or 4 years," Manuel said. "Right now, he's throwing really good."
Is the Cy Young something that motivates Hamels?
"Yeah," he said. "I play to win every ballgame I can, and with that, you get awards. I play to win. I'm not going to go out there and give up when a season can supposedly be given up on already. I want to win every game I possibly can and start streaks right now that can transpire over next year."
Next year is a phrase that has been thrown around a lot throughout the past month, which has seen the Phillies wave the white flag with the trades of Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. Hamels will play a big role in 2013, as will a player like Domonic Brown, who went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run in the win over the Marlins. Centerfielder John Mayberry Jr. snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a couple of hits late in the game, including a double.
Jimmy Rollins scored a pair of runs on a night when he tied Larry Bowa for the most games played at shortstop in Phillies history, with 1,730.
But the story of the night was Hamels, who improved to 13-6. Through 23 starts, he is on pace to finish the season with 230 1/3 innings, which would eclipse his career high of 227 1/3 innings, set in 2008.
When the Phillies signed the 28-year-old lefty to a 6-year, $144 million contract in July, they did so with the assumption that he would one day replace Halladay as the workhorse at the top of the rotation. His past two outings suggest that transition is already taking place.
Contact David Murphy at email@example.com or on Twitter @highcheese. Read his blog at www.philly.com/HighCheese.