When the Oakland Athletics traded for Jason Hammel last summer I was a happy camper. They got the “Shark” Jeff Samardzija in the trade as well. Two great pitchers for the Chicago Cubs, coming to the A’s to win.
So Hammel comes to the A’s and struggles, A LOT. Upon being traded to Oakland Hammel was 8-5 in 17 starts with a 2.98 ERA and a respectable 1.021 WHIP.
While in Oakland, Hammel went 4-2 in 12 starts and one relief appearance. His ERA was 4.26, he allowed 13 homers in those 12 starts and posted a 1.286 WHIP.
This year, back on the Cubs, Hammels has excelled, probably having the best season of his career. He’s posting a career low ERA in 2.82 over 10 starts and is leading the league in WHIP with a stunning 0.896.
Saturday, Hammel pitched another brilliant game against the Washington Nationals. He defeated the Nats’ Joe Ross who pitched well, but not quite well enough, in his MLB debut.
Hammel has dominated the Nationals in his career. He’s 9-0 lifetime against them. Saturday Hammel went eight full innings allowing two runs on five hits as the Cubs went on to win the game 4-2.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon had this to say about Hammel’s performance,
“Jason Hammel was outstanding. How many games in a row is that? You talk about pitching at an All-Star quality or level, he has. He’s been unbelievably good, consistent, deep into the game, strike thrower. Just outstanding. So, I want to put it out there. I really think that he has to be considered, based on his performances have been that good.”
His performances have been that good, Maddon says, All-Star worthy in fact. Great, good for him. He’s having the best year of his career so far in just over two months of the season.
What absolutely kills me, and I understand that he did not have, well, any run support when he was on the Athletics, but that doesn’t excuse his ERA or WHIP over that half a season. He just did not pitch well in Oakland.
While improved performances by Jason Hammel would not have saved the 2014 Athletics they way the completely collapsed down the stretch, I just want to know what happened?
Why is playing for the Cubs so much easier for the 32-year-old right-hander that suddenly pitching for, what was at the time, a first place team?
So really all I have to say is “Seriously, Jason Hammel, SERIOUSLY?” WTF happened?” He couldn’t have been THAT unhappy on the A’s, not many players EVER are.
I know that time is now behind the A’s, their fans and even me. Yet every time I hear talk of Hammel’s “brilliance,” I can’t help but wonder why and feel just a tiny bit slighted.