What we're watching: Hanson vs. Pedro

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hanson.jpg– The Braves got a much-needed win Thursday to avoid a home sweep at the hands of the Padres. Now they could really use two out of three games this weekend in Philadelphia. They’ll try to start the series right with Tommy Hanson on the mound against Pedro Martinez. Hanson, who will be facing the Phillies for the first time, has won four straight starts to improve to 9-2 with a 3.12 ERA. Martinez is 2-0 with a 5.14 ERA in his three starts. He’s struggled early in outings, but the Phillies have managed to support him with 21 runs in his two victories.
– CC Sabathia is on a roll anyway, but tonight he’ll get to face a White Sox team he’s gone 15-4 against in his career. If he can win a sixth straight start tonight, he’ll be the first pitcher this year to reach 16 victories. Trying to halt his streak will be old rival Mark Buehrle. The trends aren’t encouraging, though. Buehrle is 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA in six starts since his perfect game against the Rays, and he’s 1-6 with a 6.84 ERA lifetime against the Yankees. When Sabathia and Buehrle locked horns on Aug. 2, Buehrle gave up seven runs and 12 hits over 4 1/3 innings in a loss.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. San Francisco – The Rockies won three out of four against the Giants in Colorado last weekend, but they’ll be playing in San Francisco this time and the Giants are an NL-best 41-21 at home. Game 1 would seem to be the premier matchup of the series, with Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum facing off for the second time in six days. Jimenez prevailed last time after allowing two runs in eight innings. He’s won five straight starts, and he hasn’t lost in nine. Lincecum, on the other hand, has gone four straight starts without a victory, damaging his Cy Young case. The loss last weekend was his first in eight career starts against Colorado. He has a 1.79 ERA and a 75/9 K/BB ratio in 60 1/3 innings against Colorado lifetime.

David Ortiz had the Rays cancel his pregame ceremony out of respect for Jose Fernandez

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 23:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox salutes a fan before his turn at bat during the first inning of their game with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 23, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images
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The Rays were set to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz with a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game, but as Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports, the slugger requested it be canceled out of respect for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died early Sunday morning in a boating accident.

Ortiz was seen tearing up as the Rays remembered Fernandez and held a moment of silence:

Kudos to Ortiz for doing the right thing.

Curtis Granderson is close to making history

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22:  Curtis Granderson #3 of the New York Mets connects on a three-run home run in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 22, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
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With a fourth-inning solo home run off of Phillies starter Jake Thompson, Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson reached the 30-homer plateau for the fourth time in his 13-year career. It’s a moment worth celebrating, only there’s one problem: he has just 56 RBI on the season.

There are many reasons for the low RBI total. 24 of Granderson’s 30 homers have come with the bases empty. He came into Sunday’s action hitting just .140 in 124 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and .197 with runners on base. He has hit leadoff for most of the season, meaning he’s had the Mets’ pitchers hitting “ahead” of him in the No. 9 slot as well as the Mets’ catchers typically hitting eighth. Mets catchers, collectively, have a .296 on-base percentage, the second-worst mark in the National League.

Since the end of August, Granderson has hit cleanup with Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Yoenis Cespedes hitting in front of him. That change hasn’t been for naught, as he has 17 RBI in 21 games since.

Still, Granderson is on pace for the fewest RBI in a 30-homer season. Rob Deer and Felix Mantilla are tied for the record with 64 RBI. Deer (32 HR) accomplished the feat in 1992 with the Tigers and Mantilla (30 HR) in 1964 with the Red Sox. Only eight players have had 70 or fewer RBI in a 30-homer season. Evan Gattis is currently sitting on 30 homers with 68 RBI.