On Saturday night in Atlanta, O’s pitcher Jason Hammel was absolutely masterful, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning before the Braves’ young slugger Jason Heyward broke it up with a single to left field. It would be the only hit Hammel would allow all evening on his way to the O’s first 1-hit shutout since Daniel Cabrera did it back in 2006.
As for Jason Hammel, I’ve said it many times, but I feel the need to say it again.
I was wrong about this trade. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
While I still say that it’s been simply a case of dumb luck – there was nothing in Hammel’s track record to this point in his career to suggest that he would be nearly the dominant pitcher he has been for the Birds – Dan Duquette is to be commended for bringing in Hammel and jettisoning Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado.
Guthrie, by the way, is getting absolutely lit up for the Rockies, for whom he has compiled an ERA of 7.02 and given up 15 home runs in only 11 starts. Guts is rumored to be on the trade block already.
Hammel, on the other hand, has been neck-in-neck with Wei-Yin Chen (another fine Duquette find) in the O’s-best-starter race, compiling a 7-2 record and a 2.87 ERA (seventh among AL starters).
Again…I was WAY off.
Unfortunately, two days later, the O’s got a taste of their own medicine when they ran into the buzzsaw that is the Mets’ R.A. Dickey.
Dickey allowed only a fifth-inning single to Wilson Betemit in putting together his SECOND STRAIGHT one-hitter. That’s the first time anybody has done that in MLB since way back in 1988, when Dave Steib of the Blue Jays managed the feat.
The Mets’ Ace struck out 13 Birds and hasn’t allowed an earned run in a ridiculous 42 2/3 innings.
The O’s will look to bounce back tonight, but things don’t get much easier as Johan Santana takes the hill for New York. Santana hasn’t been his usual dominant self so far in 2012 (his 116 ERA+ would be his worst since his second year in the league), but has still compiled a 4-3 record with a 3.23 ERA, allowing just 62 hits in 78 innings worked.
The Birds are still having a strong month of June, having won four of five series for an overall record of 10-6. Unfortunately, the New York Yankees are apparently not going to lose again this year.
The Skanks have won ten in a row and are 14-2 in June. They’ve opened up a 2.5-game lead over the Birds, and a 4-game lead over third place Tampa.
The always inconsistent Tommy Hunter goes for the O’s against Johan.