After his latest difficult outing, Jason Hammel spent about three minutes berating his own performance and talking about trying to fix it for the second half of the season.
Hammel gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings today as Toronto beat the Orioles 7-3. He is now 7-6 with an ERA of 5.24.
“Unacceptable,” Hammel said. “Far too many baserunners. Getting behind hitters. Fastball-hitting club that I’m feeding fastballs. It’s easy to hit when you know what is coming. I’m not throwing sliders for strikes, not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is non-existent. I’m beating myself right now. Very frustrating.
“This first half, honestly, is unacceptable for me. I’m better than this. It’s on my shoulders, no one else’s. It’s fixable, it’s just I have to get out of my own way. These guys are battling for me. You still have to make pitches and I am not doing it.”
The sixth inning may have been the most frustrating inning for him. He got the first two batters out and held a 3-2 lead, but then allowed four straight singles and the O’s fell behind 4-3.
“Yeah, definitely (that was frustrating). Let them back in, then start off the seventh with a curveball off the back foot and it hits him. Frustrating game right now,” Hammel said.
How does he compare this year to last season?
“Not even close. Not even close,” he said.
What was he doing better last year than he is now?
“Getting guys out. That’s the black and white of it,” Hammel said. “Pitching down in the zone and getting ahead of guys. It’s more or less get back to basics. I’m putting in good work between the games, but it only translates (if you do it) between the lines. Right now, I’m beating this team. It’s on my shoulders.”
Hammel sounded like a guy that needs a break right now and maybe for him, the All-Star game comes at a good time.
“I’m getting as far away from baseball as I possibly can,” he said. “This game can be really frustrating. But nobody else cares. It’s a matter of getting out of my own way. Take a little break. I know I’m better than this. Got to get rolling here. This team needs consistency out of me and that is not what they are getting right now.”
He has said before that he didn’t believe mechanics was a big issue for him. Does that still hold true?
“I’m not going to ... I hate to go to mechanics. When you keep trying to change things, it’s hard to repeat stuff when you are constantly working on something different,” Hammel said. “I’m sure there are some mechanical things in there, but honestly I really just think I’m trying too hard.”
Buck Showalter said he thought Hammel’s best days for this season are still to come.
“It’s huge (Showalter’s support). I hate seeing him come out every time in the seventh inning when we have a lead and I have to give it back,” Hammel said. “I was very frustrated, actually spiked the ball into his hand. I was a little (ticked) off. It’s frustrating.
“I know these guys are pulling for me. I agree, I do believe the best days are ahead, but it’s got to happen fast if we want to make this a championship season. I’m a big part of it and I have to get it right.”
Meanwhile, Chris Davis homered for the third day in a row, putting his 1-for-24 stretch over seven games further into his rear-view mirror.
“There were a few games where I was being a little too aggressive and swinging at some balls out of the strike zone,” Davis said. “I think right now I am letting the ball travel a little bit. Not getting pull happy and that’s a sign I am swinging well.”
Several O’s hitters expressed frustration at the strike zone of home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Did Davis see that as a factor?
“I don’t think you can blame anything on those guys. They are not trying to miss calls. It goes both ways, you get some calls, too, and that’s part of the game,” he said.