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"They're performing better than us, that's for sure," he said. "Honestly, that's the benchmark we need to set ourselves at — our teammates. We should be able to run with them. We've been at the tail end of the trio for the past couple of weeks.
"But, you could argue for the first three weeks we were back, we were the best car. It's circumstantial, you get all emotional over a couple bad weeks."
So Hamlin indeed has his work cut out for him at those "wheelhouse" tracks, beginning Saturday night at Kentucky, where he finished third last season. Then it's off to Daytona, where anything can happen, but Hamlin is usually in the lead pack of cars and in the mix for the win. Then it's New Hampshire, where he's a two-time winner and has 10 top-10 finishes, and Indianapolis, where he started from the pole and finished sixth last year.
He'll head into this critical stretch of the season with the same game plan he's had since his return.
"I don't think my strategy changes at all," he said. "I think I continue to try to win every week and do all I can, just trying to get a good finish at this point."
|Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon||4||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Samardzija||1|
|St. Louis - M. Wacha||6:05 PM|
|Washington - G. Gonzalez|
|Milwaukee - K. Lohse||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - C. Morton|
|Toronto - D. Hutchison||6:05 PM|
|Cleveland - J. Masterson|
|LA Angels - J. Weaver||6:08 PM|
|Detroit - D. Smyly|
|Atlanta - A. Harang||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - J. Niese|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman||6:10 PM|
|Boston - J. Lackey|
|NY Yankees - H. Kuroda||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - E. Bedard|
|Seattle - C. Young||6:10 PM|
|Miami - N. Eovaldi|
|Chicago WSox - F. Paulino||7:05 PM|
|Texas - M. Perez|
|Minnesota - R. Nolasco||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Vargas|
|Philadelphia - J. Pettibone||7:40 PM|
|Colorado - T. Chatwood|
|Houston - J. Cosart||9:05 PM|
|Oakland - S. Gray|
|San Francisco - M. Cain||9:10 PM|
|San Diego - T. Ross|
|Arizona - W. Miley||9:10 PM|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke|