Hammel looking ahead after rough start

'I'm not going to let it beat me up,' righty says after allowing career-high 5 homers

Hammel looking ahead after rough start

NEW YORK -- Jason Hammel didn't blame the rain delay, didn't blame New York traffic, didn't blame any hangover from last year's National League Championship Series. The Cubs' right-hander simply didn't have good fastball command, and the end result was a long 10-2 loss to the Mets on Friday night.

All 10 runs came off Hammel -- a career high -- and he served up five home runs, also the most the righty has surrendered.

"You always try to set career highs -- I got a couple of those taken care of tonight," Hammel said. "I'm just going to let this one disappear. I'm almost at a loss for words because of how bad it was. Tomorrow's a new day. This game always has a way of humoring you and humbling you at the same time. I'm not going to sweat it. I'm not happy that we lost, but I'm not going to let it beat me up."

He'd been on a good pace in the first half, and he entered the game with a 2.58 ERA. It ballooned to 3.45.

"I always talk about fastball command," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He was throwing his fastball, and it was not going where he wanted it to and they weren't missing it. ... He just got hit tonight, that's all."

It wasn't just his fastball that Hammel struggled with.

"It was literally everything," the right-hander said.

The last time the Cubs gave up five or more home runs in a single game was last Aug. 19 against the Tigers.

Hammel threw just 18 pitches over the first two innings, and two of those left the yard as James Loney and Asdrubal Cabrera hit back-to-back blasts in the second. Rain stopped play prior to the Cubs' third, so Hammel kept loose throwing in the batting cages. After a delay of one hour eight minutes, Hammel led off the third. It was weird for him to get an at-bat before taking the mound again.

"Mother Nature is Mother Nature," Hammel said. "You can't do anything about that. [Jacob] deGrom faced the same thing. Up to this point, I've been throwing the ball really well. When the sun comes up tomorrow, it's a new day."

Hammel spent the offseason retooling his physical and mental approach to the game. The goal was to avoid a second-half funk, which occurred last season when he posted a 5-4 record and 2.86 ERA before the All-Star break and finished 5-3 with a 5.10 ERA in the second half.

Maddon didn't want to overwork an already-taxed bullpen, and Trevor Cahill helped out by pitching the final three innings.

Time to move on.

"Over the course of 162 games, you're going to have your ups and downs," Hammel said. "You try to make those few and far between, but they're going to happen. [Thursday] night was a tough loss, and tonight -- today, I guess, because we played so [darn] long -- as long as you don't take it with you for the next day, it won't affect you at all."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.