Cubs’ Hammel takes relaxed approach for Game 4
Another big series, another Game 4 for Jason Hammel.
The Cubs right-hander takes the mound Wednesday for his second postseason start after helping Chicago dispatch the St. Louis Cardinals in last week’s National League Division Series.
It is an even bigger challenge this time, as Hammel gets the call with the Cubs trailing 3-0 to the New York Mets in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series. The Mets beat the Cubs 5-2 in Game 3 on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
Hammel, who went 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA during 31 regular-season starts, shrugs off the pressure.
“Pressure is what you make of it,” he said Tuesday. “I honestly believe if I’m pressuring myself, I’m worried about the wrong thing.”
Hammel is appearing in the postseason with his fourth different team. He also reached the playoffs with the Colorado Rockies (2009), Baltimore Orioles (2012) and Oakland A’s (2014).
In the Cubs’ clincher in Game 4 against the Cardinals on Oct. 13, Hammel threw three innings of two-run ball. He was not involved in the decision in a game Chicago won 6-4.
Hammel is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in postseason appearances, including four starts. Last year with Oakland, he faced one batter in the 2014 American League wild-card game and allowed a hit.
Hammel pitched against the Mets once this year, getting a no-decision while pitching eight innings in a 2-1 Chicago walk-off victory on May 13.
“I’ll be prepared with my game plan, go back and watch what I did when I faced the Mets earlier this year, and we’ll kind of go from there,” he said. “They are a little bit different of a team than they were earlier this year when we faced them, but nothing that I can’t prepare for.”
The 33-year-old veteran is 0-3 with a 4.91 ERA against the Mets in five career starts, working 29 1/3 innings while striking out 19 and walking five.