Hammel continues search for elusive win

Jason Hammel will attempt today to capture his first win since May 27, a span of nine starts.

Hammel has five losses and four no-decisions since his last victory. He's allowed 20 hits combined in his last two outings, though he was credited with a quality start Tuesday after surrendering three runs in six innings in Kansas City.

That's "quality" by definition. Hammel gave up 10 hits and walked four batters.

The Orioles are keeping an eye on the pitching market despite their earlier acquisition of Scott Feldman from the Cubs. But as one member of the organization asked, "What would you do with Hammel?"

The bullpen is crowded and will stay that way unless the Orioles trade a reliever. Hammel can't be optioned without his approval, based on his service time, and the Orioles aren't looking to ship him to the International League.

For now, Hammel remains a part of the rotation and Showalter continues to offer his support.

"There's a lot of people who would love to have Ham, but maybe not as much as we do," Showalter said. "It's not like he's pitched poorly all year. It's just, I think it becomes more under a microscope when other guys are pitching well. We have (Wei-Yin) Chen back now and Miggy (Miguel Gonzalez) is giving us a chance and (Scott) Feldman's giving us a chance and, of course, Tilly (Chris Tillman).

"You could go around baseball and I challenge you to find five starters, with the exception of maybe Tampa Bay, that just reels them off every time out there. Hammel wants to and can, but it's hard to do. Starting pitching in the American League East is just hard to do. That's what makes it remarkable when you see good outings. Especially when you're so familiar with each other. I think this time of year it almost works more to the pitcher's favor when you're that familiar with everybody. There are no secrets."

Hammel is 1-4 with a 6.65 ERA in eight starts at Camden Yards this season. In 11 career games against the Red Sox, he's 1-2 with a 4.81 ERA and one save. In five starts, he's 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA.

David Ortiz is 6-for-14 with a home run against Hammel. The Red Sox are hoping he doesn't phone it in.

Showalter indicated that Matt Wieters will serve as the designated hitter today. Wieters is 14-for-37 (.378) with three doubles, a triple and seven RBIs vs. Jon Lester. J.J. Hardy is 6-for-18 with a double, triple and home run.

Will LJ Hoes serve as the designated hitter against a left-hander? Will he finally be added to the 25-man roster?

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