WASHINGTON - Jason Hammel couldn’t extend the rotation’s streak of quality starts to five, but he improved his record to 5-1.
Hammel was charged with four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He worked five innings in his last start.
“It’s same as last time, my leg,” he said. “I get to a certain point now where it’s almost like I’m pitching on one leg and transfer everything to the arm. I got one out further than last time, I guess, so that’s good. We just have got to get the leg stronger, but I’m definitely hitting the fatigue stage.
“It’s not really pain. It’s just soreness, and then I can’t sit on it. The back leg is the most important part of the pitching delivery, stay over the rubber, and when you can’t do that, it turns to all arm, and things start to get up in the zone. And now it’s just a chain reaction there. Obviously I’ve got to keep working on it.
“Every day I’m trying to do stuff to get stronger and stronger. At this point, the last time, I wasn’t able to get on an eliptical or even a stair stepper, and I was able to do that this time, so we’re making progress.”
Hammel was asked whether he’d shut down for two weeks.
“No,” he replied. “If I can continue to pitch, obviously, I don’t want to kill the ‘pen. Any innings out of me I think can help.
“Obviously, an outstanding job by the ‘pen tonight to fill in for me again. Once I can get this thing strong, I hope to not let them work any more.”
Hammel said he wasn’t nervous watching the ninth inning.
“I’m more frustrated because I don’t want those guys going out there in the sixth inning,” he said. “Five is not acceptable for me. It’s just not what starting pitchers do. If you don’t want the bullpen giving up your runs, don’t put them out there and leave early.”
Adam Jones homered again tonight after extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
“You just jinxed me though. You know you can never talk about hitting streaks,” he said.
Jones is concentrating on being more consistent at the plate this season and slowing the pace.
“I think I’m just trying to kind of slow everything down,” he said. “I used to be like, early in the year, man in scoring position, I was rushing, and I had a few strikeouts, pop-ups with man in scoring position. I needed to back away from it, let the ball come to me and see the ball. And lately I’ve just been trying to see the ball, use my hands and not really try to think too much at the plate because hitters are never supposed to think. They’re just supposed to hit. And right now I’m executing whatever my plan is, and that’s just to see the ball, get a good pitch to hit and hit it.”
Told that he was on a 50-homer pace, Jones said, “That would be awesome. I’d be up with Brady (Anderson). I just try to square it up. My main mission every time I step into that box is hit this ball as hard as you can hit it. I don’t care where it goes - right-field line, left-field line, right-field gap, right-field line, center. I don’t care. Just square it up.”
Jones’ homer tonight came against Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler in the third inning, after a single in the first extended his hitting streak.
“It’s just like (Joey) Votto, it’s just like (Andrew) McCutchen that we’ve seen recently,” Detwiler said. “They’re not missing mistakes at all. The first pitch for the single, it was away. It was just good hitting. And the next pitch he definitely jumped on a mistake.”