Baltimore Orioles starter Jason Hammel has been one of the biggest surprises of the baseball season after the Orioles traded for him this offseason in exchange for veteran Jeremy Guthrie. Going into last night's game against the Angels, Hammel had a sterling 2.61 ERA, and was coming off of a pair of dominant outings in which he had allowed just six hits, one unearned run, two walks, and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings. Well, last night against the Angels….all of that imploded on Hammel. In Baltimore's 13-1 blowout loss, Hammel got just ten outs, allowing eight hits, eight runs, three walks, and only two strikeouts. Hammel also allowed a homer, his first since allowing four on May 30th in a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto. The game was an absolute shellacking that saw his ERA jump to a season-high 3.29. It's only the fourth time this year that Hammel's ERA has been over 3.00 after a start. On the bright side for the Orioles, his ERA has fallen below 3.00 in the next start…so maybe he'll turn out a gem in his next start, which will be on Monday in Seattle.
Game of the Night: Mets 17, Cubs 1. You're probably saying "what the hell is so great about a 17-1 blowout?" Well, this was a pretty cool game for the Mets and their fans: the team hit for the home run cycle. What's a home run cycle, you ask? This happens when a team hits one of each type of homer: a solo shot, a two-run blast, a three-run homer, and a grand slam. Perhaps even more awesome is that the Mets did this in a three inning span from the fourth to the sixth. Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fourth, and Ike Davis followed it up with a three-run shot in the fifth. Murphy followed up Davis's homer with a solo shot in the fifth, and Scott Hairston completed the cycle with a sixth inning grand slam. Another awesome thing I just noticed…three players completed the cycle for the Mets, and they hit consecutively in their order. That's some cool trivia…unless you're a Cubs fan, of course.
Pitching Lines of the Night: The Astros and Padres had themselves a 1-0 pitchers duel, and Houston rookie Lucas Harrell went the distance, throwing a complete game shutout while allowing six hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts. His counterpart, Clayton Richard, was nearly as good. Richard allowed one run over seven innings on two hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. The game was also completed in two hours…nice! Tim Lincecum helped the Giants to a sweep of the Dodgers, shutting the team out for the third time in a row as the Giants won 3-0. Lincecum went seven, allowing four hits, two walks, and striking out eight. A's rookie Jarrod Parker also had a good start in Oakland's 2-1 win over Seattle, allowing just one run over seven ininngs on three hits, allowing four walks and striking out nine Mariners hitters.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Let's get the pair of Mets studs out of the way first. Ike Davis went 3/5 with three runs, four RBI, two doubles, and a homer. He has an .840 OPS in June, which is a massive improvement over his first two months this year. Daniel Murphy went 3/5 with four RBI, a double, and two homers. Another Murphy, David down in Texas, also had a great game. going 4/5 with three runs, five RBI, and a pair of homers in a wild 13-9 Rangers win over the Tigers. Torii Hunter lit the world on fire on the Angels' blowout win over Baltimore, going 3/5 with four runs, two RBI, a walk, a homer, and a stolen base. His teammate Mike Trout had another ho-hum game, going 4/6 with three runs scored and an RBI. Oh, and he had an incredible catch in the first inning. Ryan Ludwick hit a pair of solo homers in the Reds' 8-4 loss to the Brewers, and Adam Dunn went 3/5 with four RBI and a homer in the White Sox 12-5 win over the Twins.
Spotlight Series: New writeup coming today, or tomorrow. Haven't looked at the schedule yet.
Other Games: The Yankees beat the Indians 5-4, but Andy Pettitte fractured his ankle in the win. The Red Sox beat up on the Blue Jays 10-4 in a game started by their lone remaining healthy starter, Ricky Romero. The Royals edged the Rays 5-4 to finish off a startling sweep. The Pirates beat the Phillies 11-7, but the real story was Chase Utley's return. He went 3/5 with a homer. The Braves used homers by Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones to beat the Diamondbacks 6-4. The Marlins used a late rally to beat the Cardinals 5-3. The Nationals' bats exploded in Colorado again, and they beat the Rockies 11-5.
Today's Games: A Thursday with only two early games is weird, but here we are. AJ Burnett starts for the Pirates as they look to split the series in Philly. The surprising Wei-Yin Chen starts for the Orioles, as they welcome the Indians to Baltimore. Edwin Jackson starts for the Nationals in Denver. Dan Haren will start for the Angels in Toronto. Trevor Bauer makes his long-awaited major league debut for the Diamondbacks in Atlanta. Max Scherzer takes on James Shields in Tampa Bay. Surprising Dodgers starter Chris Capuano starts as LA begins their series with the Mets. Franklin Morales takes on Felix Hernandez in Seattle. Johnny Cueto and the Reds travel to the west coast to take on Madison Bumgarner and the Giants.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.