He gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings last night in the second-worst start of his 29 as an Oriole. Just three times in those 29 starts has Jason Hammel given up six runs or more, and it’s now happened in back-to-back starts.
The Orioles have some issues to resolve right now with their struggling opening day starter. Hammel is 5-2 with a 5.72 ERA. He has allowed 13 earned runs in his last two starts and pitched to an ERA of 10.43 over his last three.
Where to turn from here?
O’s pitching coach Rick Adair is the guy that will try to get Hammel back to the form he showed last year.
“I think his stuff is good, but he’s missing up in the zone,” Adair said this afternoon. “He’s been behind in the count too much. He is throwing strikes, but they are not quality strikes. He tried to go in on a right-hander and pulled the ball back toward the middle.
“His rhythm has kind of been off all year. He has some delivery issues where he is collapsing a lot, which causes him to get a little longer with his arm path, which results in elevating a lot of pitches. It can lock in (and improve) quick. But getting to trust it at game speed in a game is not as easy.”
While Adair and Hammel work on the physical aspects of his delivery, there is also the mental side of this game, which can be tough on any struggling player.
“Hamm is a great competitor and wants to do well. I think he feels like at times he wants to carry this rotation,” Adair said. “He looks at it that way. Sometimes you don’t have the same feel and body awareness when you get emotional in a game that you do when you are throwing a side. You can never really relax physically, but mentally you need to be relaxed.”
Will Adair work on anything new when Hammel goes through his next side session between starts?
“Nothing new, but we need to refine and continue some things we have done in the past. He’ll be fine,” Adair said.
I asked Adair what reports he had gotten from Norfolk on today’s starter, Jair Jurrjens, who went 3-1 with an ERA of 3.14 in eight Triple-A starts.
“He’s been down in the zone. He’s been healthy with his knee. So, we’re just looking to see him get us deeper in the ballgame, get the ball down and be real efficient with his pitch count,” he said.
Projected Orioles rotation for the next few games:
Today: Jair Jurrjens
Sunday: Chris Tillman
Monday: Freddy Garcia
Tuesday: Miguel Gonzalez
Wednesday: Jason Hammel