O’s at the 100-game mark, plus notes on Hammel and Schoop

For the Orioles, there are 100 games down and 62 to go in the 2013 regular season. The Orioles are 57-43 and 2 1/2 out in the AL East.

After 100 games last season, the Orioles were 52-48 and 8 1/2 games out of first place.

Jason Hammel will again try to get his season pointed in the right direction tonight. Hammel gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings in his last start before the All-Star break. He is now 7-6 with a 5.24 ERA over 19 starts.

After that last outing, Hammel said, “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.”

Read his comments from that postgame interview here.

In his 20 starts last season, Hammel gave up four runs or more just six times, for 30 percent. In his 19 starts this year, he has given up four runs or more 10 times already, 53 percent.

He doesn’t seem to have the command or sink that he had on his pitches last season. Why exactly that is, they don’t seem to know, or at least they have not been able to correct whatever issues there are.

I still feel that Hammel will pitch some big games down the stretch for this team. I know that not many of you will join me with that opinion.

Last season, Hammel’s ground-to-air out ratio was 1.47. This season, it is 1.04, and in three starts this month, it is 0.81. A pitcher that had a great two-seam sinking fastball last year is now getting more outs through the air. That is not good for him.

The Orioles are holding out hope that Hammel can get it together. I am too. But he is starting to run out of time.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays play at Boston again tonight, and another Tampa win would move the Rays into first place.

The Rays have won 18 of 20 games. Since 1994, only nine other teams have had runs of 18-2 or better, and they all made the postseason.

The Orioles and Tampa now hold the two wild-card berths in the AL. That could be the Orioles and Boston at the end of tonight.

Schoop to Aberdeen: Jonathan Schoop’s minor league rehab assignment will continue with the short-season, Single-A Aberdeen Ironbirds. Schoop has been moved to Aberdeen from the Gulf Coast League O’s. In eight games in the GCL, he hit .360 with three homers, nine RBIs and an OPS of 1.269.

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