Maybe we shouldn’t look too far ahead since the Braves are still fighting to hang on in the Wild Card race, but the odds of Tommy Hanson being ready in time for the postseason are at least looking better.
From David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes word that Hanson threw two simulated innings earlier today at the team’s instructional league in Orlando. He is slated to throw three or four innings or a maximum of 65 pitches in another instructional league start on Friday.
If all goes well, Hanson could start the Braves’ regular season finale against the Phillies on September 28. Of course, things could change if the Braves haven’t wrapped up the Wild Card. If the season goes down to the final day, Tim Hudson would start on his scheduled turn.
While Hanson is still in the mix for the first round of the playoffs, things aren’t looking nearly as positive for Jair Jurrjens. He was able to throw 40 pitches in a bullpen session earlier today at Sun Life Stadium in Florida, but O’Brien writes that he probably won’t be an option unless the Braves advance to the NLCS.
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.
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.