The Braves have enough rotation depth to weather just about any storm, but that doesn’t make Tommy Hanson’s recent failures any less disconcerting.
The 24-year-old ace was shelled for seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings Saturday in a loss to the Mets. He surrendered eight hits, issued two walks, and watched his ERA climb from 3.20 to 3.60.
And it’s possible that the slide will continue.
Hanson went 9-4 with a 2.60 ERA through the end of June, but he allowed 36 hits and 19 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings during the month of July and his August is off to an even rougher start.
The right-hander spent time on the disabled list earlier this year with shoulder tendinitis and hinted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after Saturday’s game that he’s still being bothered by some discomfort.
“I’ve never made an excuse and I’m not going to,” said Hanson. “I felt good enough to go out there and help my team win the game. They did their part and I didn’t. I just didn’t have very good command. Actually, I had horrible command.”
The Braves hold a comfortable 3 1/2 game lead in the National League Wild Card standings, but the Diamondbacks are charging hard and the Giants could also be in the mix. Feeling “good enough” might not cut it any longer for Hanson. A couple weeks off would put him in far better shape for the September stretch run.
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.