Jason Hammel had a rough second half. Hammel did not pitch to his own expectations to the point he said last week he “sucked for three months.” Hammel put together an All-Star worthy first three months of the season and was the constant in the Cubs’ rotation.
In his first 17 starts, Hammel was 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. His season changed on July 8 at Wrigley in a start against the Cardinals. Hammel left the game after one inning with a hamstring injury that was more serious than reported at the time.
Hammel did not spend any time on the DL. The All-Star break allowed the Cubs to work around the injury and they pushed his first start of the second half back to give him as much time as possible.
Hammel was 5-3 in 14 starts in the second half with a 5.10 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. And his performance after the break was blamed on him having another bad second half just like the previous year with the A’s.
Hammel was 8-5 in 17 games with the Cubs with a 2.98 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 3.19 FIP. Hammel allowed 36 runs on 88 hits with 23 walks and 104 strikeouts in 108 2/3 innings. With the A’s, Hammel was 2-6 in 13 games, 12 starts, with a 4.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 5.10 FIP. Hammel allowed 34 runs, 32 earned, on 66 hits with 21 walks and 54 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings.
It is easy to say he struggled in the second half, or after the trade to Oakland, because a quick look at the numbers show he did not pitch as well with the A’s as he did with the Cubs. But a closer look shows that is not the case. Hammel was 1-4 in five starts in July with a 7.83 ERA and 1.87 WHIP. In August, Hammel was 1-1 in four starts with a 2.86 ERA and 1.27 WHIP and in September, Hammel pitched in five games, made four starts, and was 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. Over the last two months of his season, Hammel allowed 14 runs on 40 hits with 11 walks and 42 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings (2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP).
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer fielded questions about Hammel last week. And both admitted Hammel’s struggles in the second half could be traced back to the injury that forced him out of the game on July 8.
“Jason, I thought had an All-Star caliber first half of the season. It was just a tale of two halves with him and the dividing line is almost exactly that moment he walked off the mound at home against the Cardinals in July with a calf injury,” Epstein said.
“I’d be foolish to say that didn’t play a major part in what happened to him. Maybe that is something that I can learn from and we can learn from as an organization. Maybe there is a different way to handle that process of getting him right from the calf injury and then getting him back on the mound. He came back in a hurry. We were in the middle of a pennant race. Maybe if we handle it a different way the second half would have been different.”
“First of all, I think Jason [Hammel] had a terrific first half and it would be a shame to forget that,” Hoyer said during an interview on the Mully and Hanley Show (670 The Score).
“I think with Jason, my personal opinion and everyone has one internally what happened, I don’t think he was ever the same after that calf injury. I think he was healthy. I think the velocity was still very good but I think any little thing to a pitcher that can throw a guy off.”
“He’s a 6-6 guy that relies on very good downward plane to his pitches and I think when he’s really good he’s kind of in the bottom of the zone. I think that probably mechanically he elevated his pitches more,” Hoyer said. “He became a lot more hittable, the sort of differentiation between his fastball and his breaking ball became more obvious to the hitter. I think that is my theory. I don’t think his arm was hurt but I certainly think the calf injury probably messed with his mechanics.”
Jason Hammel is under contract for the 2016 season with a club option for 2017. Hammel is in the team’s plans for next season. Both Epstein and Hoyer think with time to rest and recover he will be back to pitching the way he did in the first half of the season next year.
According to Baseball America, the Cubs released LHP Tsuyoshi Wada.
The Cubs designated Wada for assignment on Oct. 11 to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Taylor Teagarden. Wada did not stay with the Cubs after the regular season ended and adding Teagarden to the roster made sense it case something happened to either Miguel Montero or David Ross during the playoffs.
Tsuyoshi Wada pitched in only one game after the roster expanded on Sept. 1 and did not appear in the Cubs’ plans beyond this season.
After a solid stint with the Cubs in 2014, Wada dealt with injuries in Spring Training that derailed his season. Once he was healthy, Wada struggled in the majors once he was called up to take Travis Wood’s spot in the rotation. Wada’s best start came in Cleveland before he ended up back on the disabled list.
Tsuyoshi Wada spent two seasons in the Cubs’ system after signing a minor league contract with the team in January 2014.
Tsuyoshi Wada pitched in 21 games and made 20 starts over two seasons in the majors with the Cubs. Wada was 5-5 with a 3.36 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 3.94 FIP (42 runs, 38 earned, on 97 hits with 30 walks and 88 strikeouts in 101 2/3 innings).
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Sporting News named the Mets’ Terry Collins its National League Manager of the Year. Paul Molitor received the honor for the American League Manager of the Year. Joe Maddon finished third in the voting by Major League managers behind Collins and the Cardinals Mike Matheny. The BBWAA will announce its Managers of the Year on Nov. 17. Maddon, Collins and Matheny, along with Clint Hurdle, are expected to finish at the top of the voting for the National League.
• According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs cruised beyond expectations in magical ’15 season.
• Anthony Rizzo’s season is over but his charity work never ends according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• The Diamondbacks have options in hunt for starters according to Nick Piecoro. Arizona could pursue RHP Tyson Ross on the trade market and RHP John Lackey in free agency.
• According to Jon Heyman, John Lackey could “garner a three-year contract at $15-20 million per season” this winter.
• Larry Bowa is returning to the Phillies and will serve as Pete Mackanin’s bench coach. Bowa was in the running to be the next Marlins’ manager. Ken Rosenthal reported with Bowa back in Philly it is “another sign Don Mattingly is getting the Marlins’ job.”
• It’s not official yet, but Zack Greinke will opt out of his contract with the Dodgers. And Don Mattingly told the L.A. Times he is 100 percent sure Greinke will become a free agent.
• The Cubs are facing another big decision with Starlin Castro this off-season according to a report from Comcast SportsNet.
• For those that may have missed it, Joe Maddon has a pretty cool Dodge van that would have fit well on the set of Dazed and Confused … Click here for the photo and article from Autoevolution.
And last, but not least, Jake Arrieta tweeted Tuesday, “After an 18 hour drive and a couple of days to reflect, I now realize how incredibly special our season was. I have to thank my teammates, the entire city of Chicago, and the Cubs organization for everyone’s dedication and hard work.”
Theo Epstein End of Season Press Conference
For the next several days, the reports on Theo Epstein’s end of season press conference will be included in the daily report. For those that have not read these, take the time to do so … a lot of very good information.
- Cubs Invite Joe Maddon’s Entire Coaching Staff Back for Next Season
- Cubs Would Like to Add at Least One Quality Starting Pitcher
- Theo Epstein’s End of Season Press Conference was Chock-Full of Information
- Cubs Will Continue Playing Kyle Schwarber Behind the Plate and in the Outfield
- Cubs Plan to Approach Scott Boras about a Long-Term Extension for Jake Arrieta
- Cubs Thought Miguel Montero’s Season was a Tale of Two Halves
- Arbitration Eligible Players Will Put a Pretty Big Dent in Cubs Available Payroll for 2016
- Cubs Would like to Bring Back Dexter Fowler, Position Player Group Provides Options
This Day In Cubstory
2005 – Cubs granted free agency to Nomar Garciaparra
2004 – Cubs granted free agency to Matt Clement, Ramon Martinez, Glendon Rusch, Todd Walker and Mark Grudzielanek
2003 – Cubs granted free agency to Antonio Alfonseca and Dave Veres
2002 – Cubs granted free agency to Jason Bere and Joe Girardi
1999 – Cubs granted free agency to Jeff Blauser, Benito Santiago, Steve Trachsel and Mickey Morandini
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Mark Clark, Terry Mulholland and Orlando Merced
1996 – Cubs granted free agency to Jaime Navarro
1991 – Cubs granted free agency to Rick Sutcliffe
1987 – The Nippon Ham Fighters purchased Brian Dayett from the Cubs
1983 – Esmailin Caridad, born
1975 – Cubs traded Don Kessinger to the Cardinals for Mike Garman and a PTNBL. Cubs received Bobby Hrapmann on April 5, 1976 to complete the trade.
1974 – Braden Looper, born
1964 – Lenny Harris, born
1937 – Cubs signed free agent Tony Lazzeri