Late game, tons of other things to get to = very late Bullets. And there are still a bunch of things to get to this afternoon.
- There’s no way around it: Jason Hammel was off last night. The stuff, at times, looked good, but almost everything was up in the zone, especially his fastball. That’s a recipe for roped line drives, which is what happened for three innings in his abbreviated start. Perhaps if it was a one-time thing it wouldn’t concern you, but Hammel hasn’t looked quite right ever since his pre-All-Star-break hamstring injury. I know some folks like to point to Hammel’s second half with Oakland last year as proof that it’s just a second half thing with him, but he actually pitched very well in the majority of his starts – he just got blown up in a few of the early ones. This, on the other hand, looks like something is consistently off.
- I don’t want to speculate about a continuation of the injury or a mechanical flaw that popped up because of it, but it’s hard not to see the bright line. Hammel in 16 starts before the injury: 2.89 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 3.21 xFIP, 25.6% K rate, 4.4% BB rate. Hammel in 6 starts after the injury: 5.33 ERA, 5.66 FIP, 4.04 xFIP, 21.1% K rate, 8.1% BB rate.
- For his part, Hammel says he feels fine and doesn’t feel like he’s trying to over-throw (which could lead to balls up in the zone), but he knows something must be off (Cubs.com). He worked with pitching coach Chris Bosio and reviewed video during the rain delay to try and identify any issues. I don’t really care to think about what could happen to the Cubs down the stretch if Hammel can’t recover from his recent struggles. The good news is, if he really is fine physically, there’s no reason to believe he can’t turn things around.
- The Cubs have shifted the rotation such that Jake Arrieta will now start on Thursday (normal rest). That not only keeps him on his usual schedule, but it also ensures that he’ll pitch in both West Coast series – Giants and Dodgers – next week.
- Discussion about internal and external options for additions, though there should be no surprises to you (CSN).
- Jon Lester starts today against the Tigers, and they’ll likely be looking to run wild on him. Lester worked on his throws yesterday before the game, and at least there’s this:
Jon Lester has looked great throwing to first here. No issues at all.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 18, 2015
- Since the issue is probably not physical, there’s only so much you can take away from a good performance in practice. But it’s a start.
- Speaking of the Bullets being late, if you missed the Scoreboard Watching, the Billy McKinney injury, the Trevor Cahill signing, or the Minor League Daily (with many more prospect injury updates), you can catch up at those links.