Drew asked the other day, “What’s the Deal With Tommy Hanson?” Well, we’re about to find out.
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell plan to talk with Hanson to determine whether he needs to be skipped in the rotation or have his scheduled Friday start pushed back.
Hanson gave up a season-high seven runs over 3 1/3 innings in Saturday’s loss to the Mets and has an 8.10 ERA over his first five starts since the All-Star break. While he has struck out 33 batters over 26 2/3 innings during the same timespan, he has shown diminished velocity in recent starts. Hanson declined to discuss whether he was having any issues with his shoulder following Saturday’s outing, but he previously went on the disabled list in June with right rotator cuff tendinitis.
The Braves have a scheduled off-day on Thursday, so they could skip Hanson and use rookie left-hander Mike Minor on regular rest Friday against the Cubs.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.