Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Jason Hammel was prescribed potato chips by his doctor. Really.


Cubs starter Jason Hammel had to leave his last start before the All-Star break due to cramps in his right hand. That’s not good. The Cubs have a team doctor, though, and the team doctor told Hammel how to deal with that problem. Stretching? No. Potassium supplements? No.

Potato chips.

Here’s Hammel explaining it:

“For my cramps, if it’s a chronic thing, he said, ‘Potato chips,’ because they have a lot of potassium and the sea salt helps retain water. So I focused on that over the break and ate a lot of potato chips, and I think it turned out pretty well. Potato chip prescription … that’s what I’m going to try to go with.”

So far so good. He pitched yesterday and allowed one run over six innings, struck out seven, walked one and got the win.

My doctor only tells me “diet” and “exercise” and “avoid fatty foods” and “it probably doesn’t matter what we do anyway because you’re 43 now and, really, it’s all about managing the decline.” Maybe I need to start seeing the Cubs’ team doctor.

Photo of the Day: a rainbow at Nationals Park

Getty Images

The Washington Nationals are 56-36 and hold a seven game lead over the New York Mets. They have one of the best young players in the game in Bryce Harper, a pitching staff that allows fewer runs than any team in all of Major League Baseball and the fourth best offense in the National League. They’ve won five games in a row, three of which came against the Mets, and are heading into today’s game against the Pirates coming off of a 6-0 victory last night.

Yep, things are going pretty well for them. you might even say they are living a magically charmed life these days. Even if you weren’t inclined to say such things, this scene at Nationals Park from last night may have changed your mind.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates works in the first inning under a rainbow against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

What’s on Tap: Previewing Sunday’s action

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Dylan Bundy was the Orioles’ first round pick — the fourth pick overall — in the 2011 draft. In 2012 the Orioles moved him quickly through three minor league levels and gave him two late season appearances out of the big club’s bullpen. He excelled that year and, heading into the 2013 season was considered the number two prospect in the entire game by Baseball America and He was thought of as a top-5 prospect by basically everyone else.

Then the injuries happened.

Bundy missed all of 2013 due to Tommy John surgery. Following his recovery he pitched only nine games in 2014 and then only eight games in 2015, thanks in part to shoulder problems. Heading into this season the Orioles’ expectations for him were likely nil, even if they were hopeful that the still young pitcher could make a nice career for himself. He’s just 23, after all.

It’s been a totally different year for Bundy this season. He began 2016 in the Orioles bullpen, and he’s done a nice job. He’s tossed 38 innings in 22 appearances as the Orioles’ long man, allowing 13 earned runs (3.08 ERA) and striking out 32 while walking 12. In his most recent outing on July 6, 2016, Bundy retired all seven Dodgers he faced in two and a third innings.

The Orioles, while possessing a nice offense and while sitting in first place in the AL East, have some serious starting pitching problems. Today they’ll give Bundy his first ever major league start, no doubt seeing if they can rectify their rotation woes internally, for free, before wading out into the trade market. He’ll face the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:10 PM Eastern time.

I don’t root for the Orioles, but I do root for guys who’ve had a rough go of it like Bundy has. Here’s hoping the once promising prospect has put his injury history behind him and can put together something approaching the kind of career so many anticipated for him four or five years ago.

The rest of today’s matchups:

Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 1:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Detroit Tigers (Michael Fulmer), 1:10 PM EDT, Comerica Park

Milwaukee Brewers (Zach Davies) @ Cincinnati Reds (Dan Straily), 1:10 PM EDT, Great American Ball Park

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran), 1:35 PM EDT, Turner Field

New York Mets (Jacob deGrom) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Zach Eflin), 1:35 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Pittsburgh Pirates (Chad Kuhl) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 1:35 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson), 2:10 PM EDT, Target Field

Miami Marlins (Adam Conley) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha), 2:15 PM EDT, Busch Stadium

Texas Rangers (Cole Hamels) @ Chicago Cubs (John Lackey), 2:20 PM EDT, Wrigley Field

Chicago White Sox (Jacob Turner) @ Los Angeles Angels (Jered Weaver), 3:35 PM EDT, Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) @ Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill), 4:05 PM EDT, Oakland Coliseum

Houston Astros (Collin McHugh) @ Seattle Mariners (Mike Montgomery), 4:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Robbie Ray), 4:10 PM EDT, Chase Field

San Francisco Giants (Johnny Cueto) @ San Diego Padres (Edwin Jackson), 4:40 PM EDT, Petco Park

Boston Red Sox (David Price) @ New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka), 8:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium