Can Jason Hammel get his fastball command locked in tonight?

If he gets a win tonight here against Tampa Bay, Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel would improve to 6-1 this season. He would become the first Oriole to go 6-1 or better to start consecutive seasons since Mike Boddicker went 6-1 to begin the 1985 season and 10-1 the following year. Hammel had a 6-1 start to the 2012 season.

While that is a very impressive stat for Hammel, he has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings over his last two starts, raising his ERA from 3.79 to 4.93. That is higher than his 4.76 ERA for Colorado in 2011.

No one is sounding an alarm here, but O’s fans haven’t seen a consistent Hammel yet, and last season he did go 8-6 with an ERA of 3.43 in his first season with the club.

He is giving up more hits per nine innings this season, his walks are up slightly and his strikeout rate per nine innings has dropped from 8.6 to 6.3.

Hammel has mentioned inconsistent fastball command after a few starts this year. Manager Buck Showalter agrees that Hammel is not quite locked in right now.

“Oh yeah, but he spoiled us with a pretty good level of pitching with the fastball last year,” Showalter said this afternoon. “It is something that I look to get better. He’ll get better with it, I hope so, he’ll need to.

“But it’s also a testament to him that that has been the case, and he’s also given us a good chance to win. It’s something he’s been fighting.

“It is also one of those things where we talk about all the time - a guy is real good warming up, real good on his work day and things can get away from you emotionally sometimes. You can want something too much.”

Hammel after eight Oriole starts:

2012: 5-1 with 3.12 ERA, .222 batting average against, 1.97 ground-to-air out ratio
2013: 5-1 with 4.93 ERA, .278 batting average against, 1.15 ground-to-air out ratio

Are you concerned about Hammel’s performance, or will he find his top notch command soon?

blog comments powered by Disqus