Hammel’s night

What will get lost in the Orioles’ 2-1 loss (and shouldn’t) is the performance of Jason Hammel, who turned in another quality start Monday night. Hammel held a lethal Yankees lineup in check over six innings, allowing five hits and two walks in his first loss this season. His one mistake was a two-seamer that never moved and Eric Chavez crushed for a two-run homer.

Making his first start against the Yankees in more than four years, Hammel — who has been the Orioles’ most effective starter  — kept right on rolling in giving Baltimore six strong innings. He hasn’t allowed more than six hits in a single start so far this year. Hammel was, as manager Buck Showalter pointed out, the reason they were in that game and he continues to show signs of being a reliable rotation guy this season. The 29-year-old has allowed two earned runs or less and pitched at least five innings in all five games this year and is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA.

It’s still very early in the season, but Hammel’s rediscovering of the two-seamer — which, for the most part has been highly effective — and his newfound confidence really have him looking like a different pitcher than in years past. I covered him as an associate reporter for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and, to me, he just looks like a different guy on the mound. Twice tonight two New York reporters brought up the same point.

Hammel has 30 strikeouts and 10 walks over his first 32 innings.


What can we do to beat those Yankees?

Hammel is terrific. Just play the way you did last night with a little more hitting. Long way to go and we play the Yanks 14 more times. let’s see what the #’s look like after we play all the games. Oriole Magic will prevail.

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