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Mets 10, Cubs 2: Jason Hammel's July Strikes Again

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I watched this game so you didn't have to.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It's July, so Jason Hammel's career must be going downhill.

This isn't just a random statement, it's backed up by facts, and not a small sample size, either.

Jason Hammel's career ERA through June 30: 3.84 (143 games)
Jason Hammel's career ERA in July: 5.37 (49 games)

The calendar page turned to July Friday and sure enough, Hammel got pounded. In a game that perhaps shouldn't have been played at all (three rain delays totaled one hour, 59 minutes), Hammel got pounded for five home runs and 10 earned runs in four innings. The Cubs lost to the Mets 10-2, equaling their biggest margin of defeat this year. (Perhaps it's of some consolation that the last time they lost by eight runs, 13-5 to the Reds on April 23, they immediately followed that by winning 13 of their next 14. A repeat of that, or something similar, would be nice.)

Before I get to the carnage, here's the only Cubs highlight of the game [VIDEO]: Kris Bryant's solo homer in the fourth, which was also the Cubs' first hit of the game off Jacob deGrom.

Both deGrom and Hammel came back after the second rain delay of an hour and eight minutes. deGrom just picked up where he left off, but Hammel was simply bad. He gave up two homers in the fourth and when Yoenis Cespedes led off the fifth with a homer, that was enough for Joe Maddon.

Here's how bad Hammel's outing was. It was the first time a Cubs pitcher had allowed five homers in a game since Travis Wood did it in 2012. Worse, it's only the sixth time in franchise history (since 1913, as far back as baseball-reference's database goes) that any Cubs hurler has done that:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 Jason Hammel 2016-07-01 CHC NYM L 2-10 GS-5, L 4.0 9 10 10 2 3 5
2 Travis Wood 2012-07-27 CHC STL L 6-9 GS-5, L 5.0 7 8 8 2 2 5
3 Carlos Zambrano 2011-08-12 CHC ATL L 4-10 GS-5, L 4.1 8 8 8 0 3 5
4 Ismael Valdez 2000-06-11 CHC CHW W 6-5 GS-6 5.2 10 5 5 2 6 5
5 Steve Stone 1974-07-09 CHC CIN L 5-8 GS-3, L 2.1 5 5 5 1 1 5
6 Warren Hacker 1954-08-11 CHC CIN L 1-8 GS-6, L 5.0 6 5 5 2 3 5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/2/2016.

You probably remember that Carlos Zambrano game, after which he stormed out of the clubhouse and said he was "retiring." It was his final appearance in a Cubs uniform. And that was a pretty good trick by Ismael Valdez, who allowed five solo homers in a game the Cubs won 6-5.

Want more? Probably not, but here it is anyway. Here's what I tweeted during the game about Hammel's outing:

Here are all the Cubs pitchers who have allowed 10 or more earned runs in an appearance, starting or relieving:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 Jason Hammel 2016-07-01 CHC NYM L 2-10 GS-5, L 4.0 9 10 10 2 3 5
2 Doug Davis 2011-06-28 (1) CHC SFG L 7-13 GS-5, L 4.1 12 10 10 3 3 1
3 Kevin Tapani 2001-04-24 CHC COL L 1-14 GS-4, L 3.1 11 10 10 3 1 3
4 Jamie Moyer 1987-08-20 CHC ATL L 4-13 GS-6, L 5.1 10 10 10 4 1 3
5 Drew Hall 1987-08-16 CHC NYM L 10-23 5-6 1.2 10 10 10 2 0 0
6 Joe Coleman 1976-06-19 (2) CHC ATL L 5-12 GS-3, L 2.2 10 11 11 1 2 2
7 Percy Jones 1925-08-24 (1) CHC BRO L 6-13 CG, L 8.0 10 13 13 9 0 2
8 Sheriff Blake 1925-07-11 CHC NYG L 3-10 CG, L 8.0 11 10 10 6 3 0
9 Elmer Jacobs 1924-07-25 CHC PHI L 4-10 CG, L 8.0 11 10 10 6 1 1
10 Vic Keen 1924-05-24 CHC BSN L 3-11 GS-7, L 7.0 14 11 10 3 2 1
11 Buck Freeman 1921-06-21 (1) CHC STL L 5-17 3-8, L 5.2 11 13 13 7 1 1
12 Lefty York 1921-06-18 CHC NYG L 3-10 CG, L 10.0 16 10 10 8 2 0
13 Karl Adams 1915-09-05 CHC PIT L 2-13 GS-5, L 5.0 12 10 10 1 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/2/2016.

Just 13 times in franchise history (and I remember that 23-10 game, one of the worst Cubs defeats in Wrigley Field history). And Hammel is the only pitcher on both these lists, the only one to give up 10 runs and five home runs in an appearance. So, if you watched this awful game, you saw some history, though probably not the kind of history you enjoyed. It's just the 12th time in major-league history that a pitcher has done both, allowed five homers and 10 earned runs in a game, the first time since this 2012 game, and trust me, you really don't want to see the rest. (If you really want to see this list, click here. It's ugly. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

The outing raised the Cubs' starting pitchers' combined ERA from 2.54 to 2.70. That's still the best in the major leagues (the Mets are second at 3.30), but yikes, that's a big one-game increase halfway through the season. Hammel's own ERA jumped nearly a full run, from 2.58 to 3.45.

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that Hammel's going to have to be better in the remainder of the second half. I don't know what his first half/second half issues are, but he's got a career 3.99 ERA in the first half (894.2 innings), a 5.15 ERA in the second half (533 innings). Hopefully, Chris Bosio and the rest of the coaching staff can figure this out.

The bullpen did a good job, not that it mattered much with an eight-run deficit. Spencer Patton and Trevor Cahill threw four scoreless innings, allowing just three singles and a pair of walks.

Here's one more positive fact about this game:

The other good news is that the Cubs still have a 10-game lead in the N.L. Central, and that this awful game counts as only one loss. They'll have another chance to win one in this series tonight, with Jake Arrieta on the mound against Bartolo Colon.