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Orioles' offense hasn't helped Jason Hammel

While right-hander Jason Hammel’s struggles over the past two months have been magnified given the success of the other starting pitchers in the Orioles rotation, the team’s offense has faltered in his recent starts, and the result has been his lengthy winless stretch.

In his first 11 starts in which he started 7-2, Hammel received 7.09 runs per game from the offense, and the Orioles scored at least five runs in 10 of those 11 outings.

But that production has dried up in Hammel’s past 10 starts. After Sunday’s 5-0 shutout loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles are averaging 2.7 runs behind Hammel, and the team is 1-9 in those games. The only win in that span came when center fielder Adam Jones hit a ninth-inning, go-ahead home run off New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

The Orioles have run into good pitching during Hammel’s starts. Boston left-hander Jon Lester is 15-2 with a 2.72 ERA against the Orioles in his career. A tough Toronto bullpen stifled the Orioles on July 13. And Yankees ace Hideki Kuroda pitched seven shutout innings in the Orioles’ July 7 win.

But they’ve also stumbled against Kansas City’s Bruce Chen, the Chicago White Sox’s John Danks and Cleveland’s Scott Kazmir in that same stretch.

Hammel’s pitching performance has stayed largely the same, too. In his first 11 starts, a stretch that ended with a two-run, eight-inning performance at Washington on May 27, Hammel allowed 3.27 earned runs per game, 6.64 hits per game, two walks per game and 4.55 strikeouts per game. In the past 10 games, those numbers have changed to 3.5 earned runs per game, 6.7 hits per game, 2.4 walks per game and 3.5 strikeouts per game.

The only statistics that have changed are the increase in walks and decrease in strikeouts. In the first inning of Sunday’s game, Boston right fielder Shane Victorino walked and later scored on an RBI double by first baseman Mike Napoli. Hammel also walked multiple batters in both the fourth and fifth innings.

Hammel was quick to place the blame on himself following his recent string of performances, but at the same time, the Orioles offense has had its struggles fall at similar times.

dgallen@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danieljtgallen

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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