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.
In 2016, late pitcher Roy Halladay was asked if he would prefer to wear a Blue Jays or Phillies cap on his plaque if he were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Per Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star, Halladay said, “I’d go as a Blue Jay.” He added, “I wanted to retire here, too, just because I felt like this is the bulk of my career.”
Obviously, circumstances have changed as Halladay tragically died in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida in November 2017. Halladay was elected to the Hall of Fame yesterday, becoming the first player to be posthumously elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility since Christy Mathewson in the Hall of Fame’s inaugural year.
Today, Arash Madani reports that Halladay’s wife Brandy said her late husband will not wear a cap with the emblem of either team on his plaque. He will instead be portrayed with a generic baseball cap. Brandy said, “He was a Major League Baseball player and that’s how we want him to be remembered.”
Halladay spent 16 years in the majors, 12 with the Blue Jays and four with the Phillies. He meant a lot to both teams. He was a six-time All-Star and won the AL Cy Young Award in 2003 with the Jays. He won the NL Cy Young in 2010 with the Phillies and was a runner-up for the award in 2011, making the All-Star team both years and helping the Phillies continue their streak of reaching the postseason, which lasted from 2007-11. Halladay authored a perfect game in the regular season against the Marlins and a no-hitter in the postseason against the Reds as a member of the Phillies in 2010 as well.
In aggregate, Halladay won 203 games with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts in 2,749 1/3 innings during his storied 16-year career which was unfortunately cut a bit short by injuries.