After allowing 15 earned runs over his first six starts, covering 35 2/3 innings, Jason Hammel has given up 17 earned runs in 14 2/3 frames over his last three starts.
He took the loss tonight in the 12-10 defeat against Tampa Bay, giving up 10 hits and seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.
“I am missing over the plate, arm-side fastball,” he said. “And that is honestly about it. A pretty simple fix, but for right now it’s seemingly difficult for me.
“I’ve been here before. I’ve figured it out before. I’m not going to continue to beat myself up. Get back to work in two days and we’ll move on.”
He was asked what he meant by a simple fix.
“It’s just staying over the rubber. Not trying to do too much. Let the stuff take over,” Hammel said. “It’s been what I have dealt with my whole career, trying to do too much.
“You know, going back and watching the video there were some great pitches tonight and some pretty bad ones. It’s a matter of removing those bad ones.
“It’s tough, but the minute you start beating yourself up, you put yourself behind the eight-ball. I always expect the best out of myself. I do know since I have been in this situation before that getting down on yourself and not letting yourself get better will only hurt you. Just got to have a short memory and get back to work.”
Hammel falls to 5-2 with an ERA of 5.72. He had an ERA of 2.78 after nine starts last season. His struggles come at a time when the Orioles rotation has pitched to an ERA of 7.34 over the last seven games.
He wanted to go deep in the game tonight, but it didn’t happen for him.
“Definitely. That is my role,” he said. “That is any starting pitcher’s role, to pick others up when they go down. I did it last year and they picked me up. It is my turn to start pulling some weight and I am not doing it right now.
“Yes, it’s there, it’s just I’m trying to do too much right now.”
This was the second-most runs Hammel has allowed as an Oriole. He gave up eight last June 27 against the Angels. The 10 hits he gave up is his most as an Oriole.
Matt Wieters was asked what the difference is with Hammel from last year to this season.
“Just command,” he said. “Being able to command his breaking ball and throw it, both for a strike and a put-away pitch. He was commanding the ball a little better tonight than the last outing. No one in this game has the answers. He’ll keep working.
“It is just getting the command of his pitches and Hamm is probably taking it as hard as anybody. All of us know what kind of stuff he has and what kind of competitor he is out there and we’ll be behind him every time he takes the mound.”
Hammel seems to have a lot of that “want to” Buck Showalter talks about and Wieters was asked about that.
“One of a person’s positives can also be a negative. That fire and competitiveness,” Wieters said. “Sometimes you need to relax in this game, as hard as it can be. Take a step back and look at your outing as a whole.”
Meanwhile, that six-run eighth inning by the Orioles was their biggest inning of the season, but their comeback bid fell short.
“You’re not out it until the game is over,” Wieters said. “That is something in this clubhouse, where we always feel we have a shot.”