Jason Hammel gets another chance tonight to strengthen his case for inclusion on the American League's All-Star team.
That's not his priority, of course. He won't be standing on the mound wondering if each baserunner allowed has ruined his chances. But he deserves serious consideration with a 7-2 record, 2.87 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings.
Hammel has lost once since April 30 and is coming off his dazzling one-hit shutout in Atlanta, the second time in his last three starts that he's allowed one earned run or fewer, and the third time in five.
Hammel wasn't at his best against the Nationals on May 19 in D.C., when he allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he got the win. The decision made him 4-0 with a 3.99 ERA in six career starts against the Nats, with nine walks and 27 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings.
Hammel is 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA in five home starts this season, so he's also got that going for him, which is nice.
Left-handers are batting .281 against Hammel during his career, but only .205 this season. Right-handers are hitting .236 this year.
Matt Lindstrom, the reliever who accompanied Hammel to Baltimore in the Jeremy Guthrie trade with the Rockies, is scheduled to pitch tonight at Double-A Bowie after making two appearances with the Gulf Coast League team. It appears that Tuesday is the target date to activate him from the disabled list.
How the Orioles make room for him has yet to be determined. They also might have to create a spot in the rotation for left-hander Jamie Moyer, whose arrival would necessitate a 40-man roster move.
The pitching staff is primed to go through some changes within the next four days.
NOTE: The Orioles announced via Twitter that they officially signed five more draft picks, bringing the total to 22: Lex Rutledge (sixth round), Kevin Grendell (11th), Luc Rennie (16th), Josh Hader (19th) and Scott Kalush (39th). Hader pitched for Old Mill High School. That one was previously reported.