Things were looking up for Oakland A’s starting pitcher Jason Hammel early in August when he earned his first win in an Athletics uniform. But in his last outing against the Atlanta Braves, Hammel gave up five earned runs in three innings pitched. Since coming to Oakland, Hammel has a 1-5 record with 7.00 ERA. Right now, Hammel is the weakest pitcher in the starting rotation.
Many are wondering if Hammel is going to be replaced. With only a month and half left to go in the regular season, it may not make sense if the A’s are a safe number of games up in the AL West. However, with the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland A’s currently tied for first place in the west, the Athletics need to start winning. In order to win the American League West, the A’s need to put a stronger pitcher in their starting rotation.
The Athletics have a couple of starting pitchers who could replace Hammel. First there is Jesse Chavez. Chavez – the Oakland A’s original long reliever – was a great starter for the Athletics this season. He was bumped back to the bullpen once Oakland acquired Jon Lester. With a 3.33 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 135.1 innings pitched, Chavez would supply the Athletics’ rotation with a reliable starter.
Next, there is Drew Pomeranz, who was also successful throughout the first half of the season, is available to take over Hammel’s spot in the rotation. After injuring himself back in June, Pomeranz has been residing in Triple-A. However, before punching the chair and breaking his hand, he really only had one bad start. Pomeranz has a 2.91 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP and would also provide the Athletics with a quality starter in the rotation.
Between Chavez and Pomeranz, Chavez does has more experience pitching in the MLB than Pomeranz. However, both have never pitched an entire season. Chavez has been prepped by the Athletics pitching staff for this starting pitcher role for sometime now and he may just deserve the spot more than Pomeranz. But Pomeranz is young and fiery, and he has that bulldog mentality that the Athletics’ look for in their young pitchers.
Manager Bob Melvin would not comment as to whether or not Hammel will be swapped out of the starting rotation. However, since Hammel’s start for next week has already been cancelled, it does give the Oakland A’s more time to consider their options. If the Angels stay hot and the Athletics’ offense continues to struggle, the A’s are going to need a stronger starting pitcher in the rotation.
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