Tommy Hanson

Tommy Hanson fans career-high 14 as Braves top Astros

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The Braves have never given Tommy Hanson a whole lot of help since he debuted two years, but he’s consistently gotten just enough this year.  On Sunday, he improved to 8-4 by striking out a career-high 14 in the Braves’ 4-1 victory over the Astros.

Hanson pitched seven innings and allowed one run on three hits.  The 14 strikeouts topped his previous best by three.  He entered with five career 10-strikeout games, with his high total of 11 coming against the Gaints on July 20, 2009.

More than just run support, it was bullpen support that was a problem for Hanson in the past, most notably when he went 2-6 despite a 2.51 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break last year.  Through 14 starts this year, the bullpen has blown one lead for him.

Hanson is currently third in the NL with a 2.48 ERA, fifth with a 1.03 WHIP and sixth with 89 strikeouts.  Only Roy Halladay with nine has more victories.  Halladay would certainly be the Cy Young choice if the balloting were held today, but Hanson would be right there with Cole Hamels and his Braves teammate Jair Jurrjens as a candidates to place second or third.

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

Miguel Cabrera
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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.