Jason Hammel is fine. He just got hit in the butt.
The Cubs right-hander took a line drive off his posterior in the top of the third inning, an infield hit for Josh Harrison that drove in what ended up being the game-winning run in the Cubs' 2-1 loss to the Pirates on Sunday at Wrigley Field.
Asked after the game if he was feeling OK, Hammel explained:
“It got me right in the meat of the butt," he said to laughs. "I’m very lucky, I have a nice bump. So I’ll be good to go.”
Hammel was good to go for the remainder of the game and really all day on Sunday. He allowed just two runs — a solo home run to Travis Snider and the Harrison RBI single, both in the third inning — on six hits while striking out six.
“Snider sees me well I guess. It was a bad pitch," Hammel said. "He obviously got it pretty good. And the other one, the one Harrison hit off me, was a hanging slider. Other than that I felt pretty good. Had good command, lot of ground balls.”
Unfortunately, Pirates starter Brandon Cumpton was even better, shutting down the Cubs offense over seven innings of his own. It all ended with Hammel taking the loss, which lowered his record to 6-5 on the season. Hammel didn't seem too concerned with his personal record — and in the era of advanced stats, is anyone? — but he was frustrated by one thing.
"I can honestly say I’m sick of seeing the Pirates," Hammel said. "What’s this? Four series now, and four out of four with them. I’d like to see some different colors for sure. I’m sure they’re tired of seeing me, too.”
Hammel might be over Pittsburgh, but his numbers against the Pirates this season have been all right. He's made four starts against them already this season, and he's got a 2-2 record to show for it. His ERA is a fine 3.57, which he can owe mostly to four runs in five innings on June 11. His other three starts, including Sunday, have seen him allow a total of six runs in 20 2/3 innings. Not bad against what Hammel classified as a "very good lineup."
Hammel is in luck. The Cubs don't face the Pirates again until September. Even if he's not around by then — his name has been mentioned as a potential trade-deadline candidate — it's a safe bet that he'll be all right.
After all, he just got hit in the butt.