A lack of run support has been the biggest reason the usually
solid Tommy Hanson hasn’t won in nearly two months.
At the rate his Atlanta Braves have been scoring, he might just
need to make it through five innings to end the drought Wednesday
Hanson looks to bounce back from a pair of shaky outings and
ride Atlanta’s offensive surge against the New York Mets at Turner
Field, where that elusive victory would extend his team’s winning
streak to five.
Hanson (8-10, 3.76 ERA) has received 14 runs of support during
his past 10 starts, which explains his 0-5 record in that stretch
despite a 3.08 ERA.
He can’t fault the Braves’ offense for his past two outings,
though. After giving up five runs in five innings of a 5-4 loss to
Chicago on Aug. 21, Hanson surrendered four homers and seven runs
over five innings of a 7-1 defeat to Florida on Friday.
All four home runs came on fastballs down the middle of the
“He just left his pitches up,” catcher Brian McCann said. “Tommy
has got to establish his fastball. It makes every pitch off that
McCann and the Braves (77-55) mustered six hits in Hanson’s
latest start – their fourth straight loss – but they’ve been red
hot at the plate since. Atlanta has totaled 37 runs during its
four-game winning streak, beating the Mets 9-2 on Tuesday.
”It’s a long season,” first baseman Derrek Lee said. “I think
you’re going to have little blips here and there, but it’s how you
respond to them. I think this team shows its character by bouncing
Jason Heyward continued his tear with a pair of RBIs, giving him
11 in a nine-game stretch in which he’s gone 18 for 37.
He’s about to be joined by another left-handed hitting rookie
who dominated the minor leagues. First baseman Freddie Freeman,
named the Triple-A International League’s Rookie of the Year after
hitting .319 with 18 homers and 87 RBIs, will be called up on the
first day of roster expansion.
Freeman, Heyward’s roommate since the two players began their
pro careers three years ago, figures to occasionally fill in for
Lee the rest of the way before getting a shot at the starting job
“He’s been screaming pretty loud for about a month,” general
manager Frank Wren told the Braves’ official website. “He’s done
everything and more that we could expect from a 20-year-old at
Hanson has gone 1-1 with a 1.02 ERA in three career starts
against New York (65-67), a far better line than counterpart Mike
Pelfrey (13-7, 3.61) has versus Atlanta. The right-hander is 4-7
with a 5.45 ERA, and didn’t make it through the fifth in either of
his most recent matchups with the Braves.
Pelfrey, however, has been outstanding after enduring a
seven-start winless stretch. He improved to 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA
since then by holding Houston to six hits over eight scoreless
innings in a 2-1 win Friday.
“I got so far away from being myself and doing what I did early
in the year and being successful. I’ve gotten back to that,”
Pelfrey said. “The next time there’s some adversity or struggles,
it shouldn’t be from getting away from doing what makes me
McCann is 18 for 37 (.486) with 10 extra-base hits against
Pelfrey, but Heyward is 0 for 8.
The Mets shipped former Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur to
Texas for infielder Joaquin Arias after Tuesday’s loss.