The reason for Hammel's frustration was the early hook given to him by Cubs manager Rick Renteria, who pulled Hammel after 92 pitches. He allowed five hits, two runs, and two walks over six innings to earn the win, but still felt after the game that he was able to pitch deeper than allowed.
"I would have liked to have stayed out there in the seventh," said Hammel. "I have no idea why I came out of the game but I honestly believe you learn how to pitch when you get to 100 pitches. If you're not allowed to reach that, I think it's hurting you more than helping. I guess it is what it is for right now.
"For a guy that's established and continues to work hard and prepares himself to throw late into games, deep into games, 100 pitches shouldn't even come into question," he continued. "But overall, it was a great win as a team. The guys put up a ton of runs, which makes it a lot easier for you to pitch and be more aggressive in the zone."
More Hammel: "It’s frustrating.I can understand for maybe a minor league guy, but we’re up here trying to win."— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) July 4, 2014
Hammel ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth inning when the Nats had two men on and no one out, but the Cubs starter got a fielder's choice and struck out two batters, including Bryce Harper, to work himself out of the jam.
Renteria answered questions after the game but said little about why Hammel was taken out other than to avoid a "situation."
"He did a nice job getting out of a couple of jams there," said Renteria. "He got us obviously into the seventh and I just thought we'd go ahead and make a change there and not really get into any situation. The guys did a nice job playing behind him, scoring some runs and continuing to tack on runs."
Hammel is 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA for the Cubs this season.