Hammel's (almost) exploding hand
It’s a much brighter day here at Wrigley, with hazy sunshine coming through after a rainy Tuesday night, when the Cubs beat Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees 6-1. It was Tanaka’s first lost since 2012 in Japan.
Cubs starting pitcher Jason Hammel was the winner, and he arrived in the clubhouse this morning with his right hand bandaged, the result of being hit with Brett Gardner’s comebacker to begin the game last night. Hammel said X-rays show he has a deep bone bruise and no break.
“When it hit me, I thought my hand exploded,” said Hammel, who is scheduled to start Sunday’s series finale at San Diego.
Hammel has some swelling in the hand, but even as it swelled last night, he was able to continue pitching.
“What does it say about him?” asked Cubs manager Rick Renteria “Fortunately for us, he’s a gamer. He stayed in there. Wanting to stay in and being healthy enough to stay in are two different things. Yesterday we were fortunate enough that he was both, because you can be a gamer and be hurt, and it would be ridiculous of me as a manager to keep him in there. All indications led me to believe that he was fine.”
The Cubs will send right-hander Jeff Samardzija to the mound today while the Yankees counter with righty Chase Whitley. Samardzija is 0-4 with a 1.62 ERA. That ERA leads the majors, but he’s winless in his last 15 starts dating to last season.
Elias Sports Bureau says that Samardzija is the first pitcher since 1977 to lead his league in ERA this late in the season despite not having a win at the time.
Bruce Sutter was the NL leader through games of June 7, 1977 (that was the latest date that season that Sutter led the NL in ERA and did not have a win.”
Sutter was at 0.89 back then and did have enough innings to qualify even though he pitched out of the bullpen.
The Cubs’ run differential now is in positive territory, at plus-2. That’s despite them having a record of 16-27. The Orioles lead the AL East with a record of 23-20 and have a run differential of minus-1. The Yankees are second in the AL East with a record of 23-21 with a minus-13 differential. I asked Renteria about the Cubs’ run-differential situation yesterday and had a note about it in today’s paper.
“I think that we’ve had games where we were down significantly, came back, chipped away and scored 2 or 3 more runs and got us closer to what we needed to do to possibly overcome a deficit,” he said. “We weren’t able to overcome the deficit as much as we’d like. I think in late-inning ballgame situations, we’ve been very close to overcoming, but not quite getting that big hit we needed to.”
Outfield prospect Jorge Soler is hurt again. This time, it’s a right-hamstring strain. During spring training, Soler hurt his left hamstring. Injuries last year and this have cost and are costing Soler valuable playing time. Soler has been at Class AA Tennessee, where he has played in just seven games. He’ll head to the Cubs’ spring facility in Mesa, Arizona, to rehab.
On Tuesday, Class AAA Iowa fell 2-1 to Round Rock on a walk-off homer by former I-Cub (and short-time big-league Cub) Brad Snyder. Carlos Pimentel got no decision as he worked 6 innings of shutout ball, giving up 2 hits. Javier Baez doubled twice. Luis Flores hit his first homer. Rehabbing outfielder Justin Ruggiano was 0-for-4 in his second rehab game, and he could rejoin the Cubs this weekend in San Diego.
Tennessee was off.
Class A Daytona was shut out 3-0 by Bradenton. Rob Zastryzny worked 2 innings of no-hit, no-run ball. All 5 of Daytona’s hits were single.
The Kane County Cougars split with Wisconsin, losing 11-1 and winning 1-0 in nine innings. In Game 1 Juan Paniagua took the loss, working 3 innings and giving up 4 hits and 3 runs. He is 0-3 with a 4.94 ERA. Jake Hannemann and Ben Carhart each singled twice.
In the second game, Justin Amlung got a no-decision as he worked 7 innings of shutout ball, giving up 3 hits. His ERA is 1.75. Carlos Penalver doubled in the fourth. He walked and stole second base to set up a game-winning single by Carhart in the ninth. Cael Brockmeyer was 2-for-3.