The whole baseball world knows about Felix Hernandez and his 12-12 win-loss record, certainly a travesty of justice of the highest order. A similar travesty is occurring in Atlanta, although not quite to the same level of Hernandez – namely, Tommy Hanson’s 10-11 win-loss record. Hanson has started 33 games for the Braves this year, compiling a 3.31 FIP and even a 3.41 ERA and yet he still carried a sub-.500 record into last night’s start against the Florida Marlins.
Hanson’s throwpitches were in full effect yesterday. The Braves’ righty went 7.2 innings and only allowed five hits and no walks while converting three Marlins into base ball outs via alphanumeric character “K.” It was another fine start for the 24 year old – however, he couldn’t earn the win, and in fact he barely escaped with a no-decision.
Hanson cruised into the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead (on a Brian McCann home run), but a Mike Stanton single and stolen base put a runner into scoring position with one out. Marlins catcher Brad Davis then delivered Stanton home with a double. At this point, the game was tied at 1-1 and the Marlins had a win expectancy of 54.8%. Hanson was dangerously close to exiting the game with the chance to lose, but he retired Wes Helms and rookie reliever Jonny Venters retired Cameron Maybin to end the inning and at least prevent a loss for Hanson. However, when Venters entered the game, Hanson was once again unable to earn the win for a start that was likely deserving – nearly eight full innings, only one run, and only five hits. Hanson compiled +.196 WPA on the game as well.
It was just another start for Hanson – pitch well, get no run support, and miss out on the victory. However, the Braves did pick up Hanson in the late innings. Venters, Peter Moylan, Billy Wagner, and Mike Dunn combined for 3.1 scoreless innings with only one hit and one walk allowed out of the bullpen. The Braves finally struck off Jose Veras in the 11th inning, as Veras put two runners on via the walk and a two out walk-off single by Omar Infante scored the elusive second run to give the Braves the victory.
For as unjust Hanson’s season has been from an individual perspective, at least he can hold on to the fact that he’s giving his team a chance to reach the playoffs. He was key in this victory, which gave the Braves a half game lead in the Wild Card over the San Diego Padres. That’s about as good of a consolation prize as I can think of for a season like Hanson’s.
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