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Jul 25, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) takes the ball from starting pitcher Jason Hammel (40) during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers defeated the Athletics 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Hammel Struggles In Oakland

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Earlier today, the Oakland Athletics sent Jason Hammel to the mound to make his 4th start with the club. The 31-year-old, traded to the A’s from the Cubs in early July, was seeking his elusive first win with Oakland.

Hammel allowed a whopping 6 runs in the first inning, appeared to settle down somewhat, but then gave up another 2 runs in the 5th inning before Bob Melvin had seen enough. Houston’s 2 home runs resulted in 4 total runs. The game concluded with the Astros winning 8-1, leaving the Athletics 66-41. Today was arguably Hammel’s worst outing. But just how disastrous was it?

The final damage for Hammel — 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. 92 pitches. he was looking to turn things around, instead it got much worse.

— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) July 30, 2014

Hammel falls to 0-4 and has struggled mightily since being acquired on July 4th from the Chicago Cubs, in a major trade that also involved the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija.

A’s fans had extremely high expectations for both Samardzija and Hammel, given that the trade with the Cubs involved giving up two of the Athletics’ top prospects. Hammel was brought in to make the Athletics’ starting rotation more formidable, but the addition has quickly turned into a liability.

Hammel has allowed 18 earned runs in 17 innings spanning 4 starts for the A’s.

— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB)  July 30, 2014

Hammel’s ERA ballooned from 2.98 with Chicago to 9.53 with Oakland. All four of his starts with the A’s have resulted in losses. Hammel’s pitching has placed unnecessary stress onto the A’s bullpen, Oakland’s offense, and the fans.

Meanwhile, Samardzija (“the Shark”) has been living up to expectations. Samardzija has pitched 36.2 innings in green and gold, allowing a respectable 13 earned runs. Of perhaps greater importance is that Samardzija’s record is 4-1 since coming to Oakland. His only loss occurred in a pitching duel on July 11th in a battle against King Felix and the Mariners.

Contrast that with Hammel’s performances with the A’s. Including today’s disaster, Hammel has only pitched 17 innings and managed to allow a whopping 18 earned runs. Most fans were forgiving of Hammel’s less than stellar first outing vs the Giants, with many thinking: “He’ll settle in. It will be ok. We trust Beane.”

A horrible performance against Baltimore, one of his former clubs, caused his ERA as an A’s pitcher to balloon to 9.00. Hammel’s longest start with Oakland was on July 25th vs the Rangers, with only 5.2 IP. It was too early to be concerned, right?

Melvin, asked about being patient with Hammel: “Well, we have what we have. Right now, until there’s changes, that’s what I expect to do.”

— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB)  July 30, 2014

After today’s game against the Astros, this much is clear: the Angels only trail the Athletics by 2 games, and the A’s do not have the luxury to continue to be patient and let Hammel settle in. Something needs to be done. A change needs to be made. Perhaps the Jim Johnson debacle has left me skeptical of former Baltimore pitchers, but, like many other A’s fans, I am officially worried.

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Tags: Jason Hammel Jeff Samardzija Oakland Athletics

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