SARASOTA, Fla. - Jason Hammel provided quite a contrast to yesterday's starter, Wei-Yin Chen, and not only for the obvious reasons.
Chen was a strike-thrower yesterday. Hammel had trouble finding the plate this afternoon.
However, Hammel also gave the Orioles two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking a batter.
Hammel walked Braves leadoff hitter Luis Durango on four pitches and fell behind, 2-0, to Martin Prado. But Matt Wieters threw out Durango trying to steal second, and Hammel responded by striking out Prado and retiring Freddie Freeman on a pop up.
David Ross and Jason Heyward singled with one out in the second, but Joey Terdoslavich grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Hammel threw 35 pitches by my unofficial count, including 18 for strikes. Only five of his 14 pitches in the first inning were strikes, but his fastball topped out at 94 mph. It stayed in the 92-94 range, so if velocity is your thing, Hammel had to impress you.
Kevin Gregg has replaced Hammel in the third inning.
The Orioles have two hits off Braves left-hander Mike Minor, a Mark Reynolds leadoff single in the second and Jai Miller's two-out double after Wilson Betemit grounded into a double play.
Miller has been impressive so far. He had a three-run double yesterday and is expected to get more playing time.