Jason Hammel came out firing inside Wrigley Field’s interview room/dungeon.
Once the Cubs pitcher sat down behind the microphone after Wednesday night’s 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, he couldn’t wait to tell reporters about Anthony Rizzo.
“I got a good one for you guys,” Hammel said. “Real good one. I got to throw my first baseman under the bus. He just congratulated me on my first NL win. Just make sure that everybody knows that Rizzo was not there with us in Pittsburgh last week, apparently. That’s a good one. I didn’t know I didn’t win at all in Colorado either.”
Yes, Hammel won 27 games for the Rockies between 2009 and 2011. He already beat the Pirates at PNC Park, giving him two victories for a 3-5 team. He went seven innings, giving up three hits that turned out to be three solo home runs.
“I got my first taste of Wrigley,” Hammel said. “I hope it’s much kinder next time. But when the wind’s howling out, you got to keep the ball down. I made three mistakes today and they all left the yard.”
Hammel, this year’s sign-and-flip guy, looks like he’s healthy and back on track after a down season with the Baltimore Orioles (7-8, 4.97 ERA). Mike Olt and Junior Lake, two potential core players, looked like they belong in the lineup every day, hitting back-to-back homers off lefty Wandy Rodriguez in the fifth inning and giving Hammel some breathing room.
Manager Rick Renteria is looking to give Olt and Lake some back-to-back opportunities – “tomorrow’s as good a day as any,” which would put them in line to face Gerrit Cole, the big right-hander the Pirates drafted No. 1 overall out of UCLA in 2011.
Oh, Rizzo also went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI before giving Hammel the big congratulations.
“I have no comment on that,” Rizzo said. “I was excited. We had a great atmosphere in here after the game. He pitched his tail off. We got him the ‘W.’ So that’s nice – off to a great 2-0 start.”