Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hamilton Has Good Marks against Cards

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hamilton Has Good Marks against Cards

Article excerpt

Joey Hamilton has yet to establish his name in most households. You won't see his picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated, won't catch him on Letterman or Leno, and a billboard is out of the question.

But on the Monday before the opening of the Division Series between the San Diego Padres and the Cardinals, Hamilton might as well have been John F. Kennedy Jr. He was surrounded by press like a full-blown celebrity, asked quirky questions to draw colorful responses, prodded for every morsel on his mind. Name-recognition or not, Hamilton will be the series-opening pitcher for the Padres at 3 p.m. today at Busch Stadium, which means the Cardinals could see him at least one more time in this five-game series. He brings to the mound a history of success against the National League Central champs.

Those factors combine to make him the man of the hour. "This is my first time pitching in the playoffs," said Hamilton, who turned 26 in September, "so it's going to be exciting. But I'm not going to try to do anything different than I've done all year." The Padres are banking on it. Hamilton finished his third season of major-league service with a staff-leading 15-9 record and a 4.17 earned-run average. More impressive is his chart where the Cardinals are concerned. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound righthander came into this season with a 2-1 mark and a sliver of a 1.35 ERA in 20 frames against the Cards. Included in those numbers was a two-hit shutout of the locals at Busch Stadium on June 14, 1995. The spell has continued this season. Hamilton beat Alan Benes and the Cardinals in May and on Aug. 7, traded scoreless innings with Todd Stottlemyre. Hamilton left after eight shutout innings before Gary Gaetti's ninth-inning home run off Doug Bochtler handed San Diego defeat. The whys and wherefores of Hamilton's hex on the Cardinals is hard to explain. …

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