Results tagged ‘ Jason Hammel ’
Jason Hammel gave up more runs in one inning than he’s served up in any of his previous starts as the Cubs closed their rain-shortened series against the Cardinals with a 5-3 loss on Thursday. It was an interesting matinee. Anthony Rizzo bunted twice for singles, setting up Starlin Castro’s sixth home run in the fourth inning the second time, Jose Veras returned in relief, and manager Rick Renteria tried not to cough in his battle with a nasty case of bronchitis.
Hammel did not record a quality start for the first time this season. The right-hander struck out the side to start the game, and he finished with six K’s. He scattered five hits and walked two over 5 1/3 innings.
“It’s the kiss of death to strike out the side in the first inning as a starting pitcher — everybody knows that,” Hammel said. “Today was the best physically I felt all year and obviously, it’s the way the game works, and it didn’t work out. My fastball was up. It caught up with me in the second.”
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the second inning on a double by Yadier Molina and walks to both Allen Craig and Peter Bourjos. Molina scored on Mark Ellis’ groundout to second. Wacha then helped himself with a two-run single and he scored on Matt Carpenter’s double for a 4-0 lead. That prompted a visit from pitching coach Chris Bosio.
Hammel felt good on the mound, but just missed with his pitches at the wrong time.
“I was confident with what I was doing and had a good game plan,” Hammel said. “It was good for three of the five [innings] I was out there and other two was a little bit of a labor.”
Hammel needed 33 pitches to get through the second, but he was able to find his rhythm and retired 10 in a row.
“He wants you to swing at his pitch, kind of nibbles the zone,” St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter said of Hammel. “We did a good job of making him work his pitch count up. We were able to get the big knock, and that’s been the big difference, really, with the season so far, getting guys on and being able to get them in.”
Rizzo bunted for a single for the second time in the game leading off the fourth, beating the Cardinals’ defensive shift. Castro followed with his sixth home run to pull the Cubs within, 4-2. The shortstop now has four homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games since moving to the No. 4 spot in the lineup.
“I like it there,” Castro said of his role as the cleanup man. “I feel pretty good there. I like hitting with men in scoring position. [Renteria] put me there for a reason.”
And Castro would bunt, too, if needed. Rizzo now has three career bunt singles.
“It’s something he’s seen as a mode of maybe off-setting [the shift],” Renteria said. “He’s looking at the game from a lot of different angles. Think about it — you’re down four runs, and a solo home run isn’t going to do a whole lot for you. Why not?”
It’s one way to get teams to stop employing the extreme defensive adjustments against the left-handed hitting first baseman.
“Everyone wants to play these shifts and I have Starlin Castro hitting behind me,” Rizzo said. “If they’re going to give me that, I might as well take it.
“I almost made them pay twice for it,” he said. “Whenever you can get a base runner — Wacha’s a great pitcher and you want to get him in the stretch and try to maybe throw him off a little bit. If teams are going to give me that, I’ll take it all the time.”
Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the eighth against Kevin Siegrist, and tallied a run on Junior Lake’s sacrifice fly against Trevor Rosenthal.
With the loss, the Cubs dropped to 13-26, matching their slowest start through 39 games since 2002.
“You’ve got to look at the positive,” Hammel said of the Cubs. “We’ve played a lot of good ballgames. We’re not getting blown out. It’s not ugly games. It’s one or two pitches here or there, or one or two timely hits that we haven’t gotten. It’s not like we’re just laying down. It’s obviously frustrating but I think we’ve played pretty good ball.”
– Carrie Muskat
There is rain in the forecast Thursday but it’s sunny now in St. Louis for the Cubs’ series finale against the Cardinals. Here’s the lineup:
Weather permitting, the Cubs will play the third game of their four-game series against the Cardinals on Wednesday at Busch Stadium. However, there is an 80 percent chance of rain, and it has rained all day in St. Louis. Here’s the lineup:
Hammel will try to post his eighth consecutive quality start.
The Cubs open a four-game series in St. Louis Monday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
Monday: LHP Travis Wood (2-4, 4.75) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (0-2, 3.43)
Tuesday: RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 2.89) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (6-2, 2.02)
Wednesday: RHP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.45) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-3, 2.85)
Thursday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.45) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-2, 3.83)
* The Cubs’ 12-24 record is the slowest start through 36 games since they were 11-25 in 1997. That team lost its first 14 games of the season. This year, the Cubs have lost at least 24 of their first 36 games for the third time in the last 33 seasons (1994, ’97 and 2014).
* Cubs pitchers have 21 quality starts but only six individual wins from starters in those games. Cubs starters have as many wins as losses when recording a quality start (6-6) to go with nine no-decisions. The Cubs are 7-14 in those quality starts despite a 2.06 ERA from the starting pitchers.
* Samardzija and Hammel are tied for fourth in MLB in quality starts (seven each).
* Here’s a bizarre stat: The Cubs have not had a starting pitcher throw at least six innings and give up more than three earned runs and notch a win since Matt Garza on June 16, 2011 (six innings, five earned runs in a 12-7 win over the Brewers).
I’m not in Atlanta this weekend, but there will be Cubs coverage on Cubs.com. if you want Twitter updates, follow @Joe_Morgan, who is filling in.
Here are some notes:
* The Cubs were 1-5 against the Braves last year, including 0-3 at Turner Field.
* Mike Olt leads NL rookies with six home runs and 16 RBIs. Olt’s grand slam on Thursday was the fourth by a Cubs rookie in the last 13 seasons. The others since 2002 include Jake Fox (2009), Anthony Rizzo (2012) and Junior Lake (2013).
* Cubs batters were hit by a pitch four times Thursday night. It’s the second time since 1914 that Cubs batters reached via a hit batter that many times in a game. It also happened June 3, 2003, against Tampa Bay
* Jason Hammel ranks third in MLB with a 0.81 WHIP. he’s walked nine and given up 24 hits over 40 2/3 innings.
Cubs Friday lineup:
– Carrie Muskat
Some early Cubs notes prior to Thursday’s series finale vs. the White Sox:
* The Cubs have 10 home games this month, compared to 18 road games. They previously had 10 home contests in a calendar month in April last season. The Cubs last had fewer than 10 home games in a month in June 2009, with eight of 25 games at home.
* Cubs starting pitchers recorded a 2.22 ERA (13 ER/52 2/3 IP) in eight games from April 27 through Tuesday before the White Sox last night scored eight runs in 4 innings against Travis Wood. Still, Chicago’s starters have pitched into the sixth in nine of their last 10 games since April 26.
* Since moving to the No. 4 spot of the lineup, April 25, Starlin Castro is hitting .302 (13-for-43) with three doubles, two homers and five RBI in 11 games. He has an .859 OPS in this stretch.
* Looking ahead to Cubs at Braves:
Friday: RHP Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.43) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (2-2, 1.80)
Saturday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.62) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (3-0, 2.41)
Sunday: RHP Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.57) vs. LHP Alex Wood (2-5, 3.00)
Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija have both posted quality starts in each of their outings this year, and Hammel improved to 4-1 with a win Sunday over the Brewers. But their success has made them attractive to several other teams. A Cubs spokesman said Monday they have not received calls about the two right-handers or lefty Travis Wood. The trio will likely draw interest leading up to the July 31 Trade Deadline. Samardzija (1.53) and Hammel (2.08) rank seventh and 12th, respectively, in the NL in ERA, while Wood has posted quality starts in three of his five outings and has a 3.52 ERA.
Hammel signed a one-year contract in February before pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training. He has said since camp started that every pitcher wants to stay with one team. Would he consider an extension if the Cubs offered one?
“That’s crazy to even bring that up,” Hammel said after Sunday’s win in Milwaukee. “Every player wants to stay in a place for a long time but I’m not thinking about that.”
He’s not thinking about being traded either, but that’s been the Cubs’ trend the last two summers. Last year, it was Scott Feldman and Matt Garza who were dealt by the Trade Deadline.
Hammel is focused on the Cubs right now.
“I just want to win,” Hammel said. “We’re learning how to do that now.”
– Carrie Muskat
* Jason Hammel wrapped up a stellar April with another quality start in the Cubs’ 4-0 win over the Brewers. He had a no-hitter through five innings, and then Carlos Gomez doubled with one out in the sixth. What happened? Hammel said he forgot the signs.
“He forgot,” catcher John Baker said of Hammel during Gomez’s at-bat. “We were laughing about it, and so of course, he gave up a hit. It cost me a watch. I should’ve figured out a way to use my mind to give him the signs with telepathy but that didn’t work.”
The last Cubs no-hitter was at Miller Park when Carlos Zambrano shutdown the Astros in September 2008.
“This is a tough ballpark to throw a no-hitter in,” said Hammel, whose career best is a one-hitter. “The ball flies in deep parts of the field. I was thinking about it, but the ‘W’ is first and foremost.”
Manager Rick Renteria agreed. How much did the Cubs need this win?
“A lot. Absolutely,” Renteria said. “You need a little bit of a confidence boost to let yourself know that hey, you’re still in there, you can still play, you can still win ballgames, you can still go out there and execute and still go out there and put yourself in a position to have a chance to win, and today we did.”
* Starlin Castro provided the offense, hitting a pair of solo home runs. He now has four homers this season, and has hit them in two games.
“I’m really happy because I think I have my mind really strong after last year,” Castro said. “I feel happy when I go to home plate and I trust myself. That’s the reason didn’t [have success] last year. Now I go and trust myself.”
* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Cubs.
– Carrie Muskat
Jason Hammel gets the start Tuesday night when the Cubs play host to the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. Luis Valbuena will lead off for the first time this season, while Emilio Bonifacio sits. Here’s the lineup: