SK grad and Orioles’ pitcher Hammel makes biggest start of career

Jason Hammel will face the New York Yankees in the fifth and deciding game of the American League Divisional Series today ( 2 p.m., TBS) at Yankee Stadium.

One hitter the 2000 South Kitsap grad won’t have to worry about is Alex Rodriguez, who has been benched by manager Joe Girardi.

A key for Hammel, according to this statistical breakdown, will be how his slider is working. When it is, he’s had good success against the Yankees.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander had knee surgery and missed a couple months after the All Star break. This will be just his fourth start this mid-July.

I think it’s almost in his favor,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got some bullets left where a lot of people may not.”

Hammel said the knee is not an issue and he’s proud to get the start in a game of this magnitude, in this story at  

Sun staffer Jeff Graham caught up with Hammel earlier this year after a start against the Mariners on July 2 at Safeco Field. Hammel said he felt like he came of age this year when asked to talk about the success he was having.

“Guys get to this age, you start figuring it out,” Hammel said. “You starting figuring out the league, learning how to pitch, learning how to make adjustments on the fly. I think that’s where I’m at now.”

Hammel struck out Ichiro twice that day at Safeco with a nasty slider. Will he have it working today?

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