Tommy Hanson already among baseball's best pitchers after his first 'full season'


Stephen Strasburg is overshadowing every young pitcher in baseball right now, but as David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution notes 23-year-old Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson deserves some attention for what he’s done through 35 career starts.
After basically one full season in Atlanta’s rotation Hanson is 18-7 with a 3.08 ERA, .231 opponents’ batting average, and 202 strikeouts in 210 innings. Setting aside the insane hype for a moment, the Nationals should be thrilled if Strasburg begins his career with similar numbers.
Hanson’s control has been shaky at times with 3.2 walks per nine innings, but he’s handed out more than three free passes just twice in 14 starts this season and is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA since a career-worst outing on May 20.
Hanson and 20-year-old stud Jason Heyward give the Braves one of the most promising young duos in all of baseball, and because he’s a four-time All-Star it’s easy to forget that Brian McCann is still just 26. Atlanta sitting atop the NL East in mid-June has certainly surprised a lot of people this season, but whoever takes over for Bobby Cox will also be inheriting a full cupboard for years to come.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.