Hanson faults his lack of fastball command in loss

WASHINGTON – Tommy Hanson had to figure Saturday was not his day, when the best part of his outing came with hail falling, just moments before umpires halted his first start of 2011 after 3 2/3 innings.

Hanson had two strikes on Jayson Werth and was the closest to getting him out he’d been all day. Hanson had given up two doubles to Werth, including one to start the decisive three-run third inning in Hanson’s loss, 6-3 to the Nationals.

“White hail, I’m sure he couldn’t see the ball, and it was blowing in his face,” Hanson said. “He kept stepping out. I was good. I could have kept pitching.”

As it was reliever, Cristhian Martinez had to finish the Werth at-bat 55 minutes later after the weather delay, giving up an infield hit. Hanson was left to decipher what happened to his fastball command on a four-run (three earned) outing.

Former Brave Rick Ankiel made it hurt the most, after Hanson fell behind him 2-1 and then watched Ankiel send one of his fat fastballs into the right field seats.

That two-run shot put the Nationals up 4-1 in the third inning, a deficit the Braves couldn’t overcome.

Hanson threw only 38 of his 68 pitches for strikes. He walked the pitcher John Lannan in the second inning after being ahead of him 1-2. A leadoff walk cost Hanson a run in that inning, as did the pitch he hit Ryan Zimmerman with a runner on and nobody out in the third.

“Part of me was trying to be too fine,” Hanson said. “And once I realized that wasn’t working and I was throwing balls, then I was opening up the plate. My fastballs were catching way too much of the plate.”

Hanson didn’t face major league hitters in his last two outings of spring training because he needed an extra two days off to rest a sore back and fell out of the regular rotation. He made his last two outings in a minor league game and then the indoor cages. But he didn’t want to blame that, and he said his back is fine.

“I know what you’re saying but I don’t know,” said Hanson, when asked about his last two starts of spring. “I don’t want to make any excuses. I feel like I could have thrown a lot better.”

He lost his first start of the year for the third straight season. He lost his major league debut to the Brewers in 2009, giving up seven runs (six earned) in six innings. He fell 2-0 to the Cubs last April 8 on two solo home runs.

Including Ankiel’s home run Saturday, Hanson has allowed six home runs in those three starts combined, and only 18 home runs in his 53 other major league starts.

But what that tells Hanson entering his third major league season is that he’s been through it enough times not to panic. And that was the point he made after conceding to shoddy command.

“All that being said, I’m obviously not worried about it,” Hanson said. “It’s my first start. I know I can pitch better than that. Just going to chalk it up to one of those days, just work hard in my next ‘pen, get my fastball command, staying down in the zone, and hope to go out and do better next time.”

49 comments Add your comment

bobby brown

April 2nd, 2011
6:58 pm

if my memory is right hanson could bring it 95 mph when first came up. correct me if i am wrong.

larry

April 2nd, 2011
7:05 pm

I remember him hitting 100 once or twice.

JKP

April 2nd, 2011
7:10 pm

He still has the ability to throw even harder than 95. But what makes him so good so young is that he’s already realized that he doesn’t have to throw as hard as he can. 92 with movement, and command is plenty fast enough to be dominant…especially with his off-speed stuff.

ryno

April 2nd, 2011
7:10 pm

Bobby, I remember him at 95 too when he came up. Last year I it seemed he was consistently about 91. Didn’t get to see the game today, but was it down near that 91 mark most of the game?

mortonkd

April 2nd, 2011
7:13 pm

Hanson was bringing it at about 91-92.

Dennis Reynolds

April 2nd, 2011
7:17 pm

Theres been a lot of “those days”

DaveinNEPA

April 2nd, 2011
7:21 pm

From what I saw, the strike zone was a bit small too. There were a few pitches that appeared to be on the corner but were’nt called. Overall though, Hanson wasn’t sharp and the Nats were taking a lot of pitches.

Rich in Huskerland

April 2nd, 2011
7:26 pm

I don’t know I keep waiting for Hanson to dominate consistently and he doesn’t. So far it doesnt look like he will match the hype. But I keep thinking it is still early in his career. But he needs to start dominating soon to meet the expectations.

Hard Onward

April 2nd, 2011
7:33 pm

So the Braves are 1-1 and Prado is hitless. Can we get a leadoff man ?

BravesFan

April 2nd, 2011
7:34 pm

Yeah I saw him at 90-92 all day and once at 93 what was up with that,I hope it gets better and soon

Dennis Reynolds

April 2nd, 2011
7:36 pm

1. Matt Young
2. Prado
3. Chipper
4. Mac
5. Uggla
6. Heyward
7. Freeman
8. Gonzo

Dennis Reynolds

April 2nd, 2011
7:37 pm

Gonzo can smash an off speed pitch and he will see a lot in the 8th spot. Freeman’s already a superior hitter than Gonzo anyway. Matt Young has great speed and hit over .300 last year in AAA. Nate is the same Nate he was last year.

Tomahawk Mafia

April 2nd, 2011
7:42 pm

The Braves actually won Tommy Hanson’s debut in 2009. Hanson received a no decision because the Braves were able to take him off the hook and win the game late.

Dawgdad (The Original)

April 2nd, 2011
7:42 pm

The strike zone was comical it was so small, but the Nats took advantage of it by taking the high pitches. Braves hitters could not seem to lay off those high hard ones.

Hanson will be OK. He always is when he keeps the ball down, but when he gets it up, he gets in trouble. He needs a pitch he can be more consistant with than that highschool curve ball he throws. He locates one and then throws three or four that look like he just started trying to throw a curve ball this week.

Chris

April 2nd, 2011
7:43 pm

hanson doesnt have a good feel for pitching. he has a great curveball, great size, and usually isnt this wild as he was today, but he doesnt have the “talent” factor like julio teheran does. hanson is a big kid that has good stuff and decent location. but he doesnt exactly have the feel for pitching or is polished enough. hanson wont meet the hype he had, but he;s still going to be a very good pitcher as he has the last couple of years

Chris

April 2nd, 2011
7:44 pm

Oh, and watching teheran a few times…he will be the “ace” guy and meet the hype, as long as he stays healthy

NoThrow

April 2nd, 2011
7:46 pm

Did anyone notice McLouth not even attempt to throw to second on Werth in the first ? Can he even throw other than the lob ? Everyone knows now they can take second on him.

dougefreshtb87

April 2nd, 2011
7:47 pm

nepa i agree about the strike zone, it seemed anything remotely close to the belt was called a ball. I will say it was called both ways. This game was easlely lost by hanson and conrad. Hansons E and Conrad swinging at ball 4. So instead of bases loaded one out, it was 2nd and third with 2 out. Def changed the momentum of the entire game.

BravesWin

April 2nd, 2011
8:12 pm

Yeah, the strike zone was weirdly small, and Tommy didn’t have his best location. That flippin’ hitch in his delivery does not serve him well, either, especially with runners on base…and it seems to give hitters a chance to sit on his pitches. And yes, McClouth’s reluctance to throw is maddening.

NoThrow

April 2nd, 2011
8:14 pm

Teams are releasing non-productive players regardless of contracts ie: Mets- Perez & Castillo, Cubs-Silva, it’s time for the Braves to follow the lead and do the same with McLouth, give Young a chance at least he has a useful arm.

gotigers72

April 2nd, 2011
8:35 pm

Please release McOut and Linebrink and Sherrill also. Bring up Abreu and Ascensio [Louie Alvarez], two young organizational kids that were lights out in Spring Training. Both with ERAs below 1.

Wren really needs to get over going out and signing old, has been, rag arm pitchers and expecting them to perform at a high level. They NEVER do. When will he learn that? May as well go with organizational youngsters and let them learn the ropes.

The only reason McOut isn’t gone? ‘Cause Wren would be embarrassed to admit that he effed up TWICE on signing someone to multi year deals, McOut and KK.

Largo

April 2nd, 2011
8:50 pm

Hanson has always had this weird delivery. Throws with his arm rather than putting some body into it. And, rather than hiding the ball, he holds it up for all to see. I doubt he’ll have a very long or successful career.

Prado is a good hitter but could be so much better. He needs to swing at the first pitch at least some of the time to keep the pitcher honest. They throw the first pitch down the middle because he almost never swings at it. Seems like he always has two strikes on him and when that happens the pitch he must swing at generally doesn’t catch much of the plate. A lot of batting titles are won by first pitch swingers.

NoThrow

April 2nd, 2011
8:52 pm

KK, McNoarm & prospect to Seattle for Chone Figgins

NoThrow

April 2nd, 2011
9:19 pm

Roger McDowell was given credit for Derrick Lowe’s resurgence in September, probably due some credit but alot forget the shot Derrick took so now Mr Pitching Coach do something with Hanson not only his delivery but his inability to hold runners at first base !

Bad Day

April 2nd, 2011
9:23 pm

Has anyone seen Prado? Kind of thinking he is still in Florida.

NoThrow

April 2nd, 2011
9:31 pm

(2) Days and you dis Prado ? How many times has he been “robbed” with hits ? How many times has he made catches in the outfield that Garrett Anderson could not have come close to ? How quickly Bad Day you forget the single person that got us to the playoffs last year .TWO GAMES ??

Bad Day

April 2nd, 2011
10:15 pm

Hey No Throw…if you can beat up on the pitching coach I can point out that Prado ain’t hitting.

Nationals

April 2nd, 2011
10:20 pm

Our CF is better than your CF…but given that you sent your guy to AAA and traded to get our guy, you already knew that didn’t you?

BravesWin

April 2nd, 2011
10:30 pm

Touche, Nationals…and that’s a sad, sad, statement for both of our teams.

jfreak13713

April 2nd, 2011
10:38 pm

Hanson is Average on most days and good some days. He is not an ACE and from what I’ve seen I’d day he is maybe a number 3 or 4 starter. Hudson, Lowe, Beachy, and then Hanson or JJ??

Sorry but we can sell the loss of velocity and lack of command too often with Hanson. He’s still good just not an ACE. 10 – 14 wins per year is his ceiling. If he can keep ERA in the 3’s I’d take 14 wins so I’m not all negative with Hanson.

When he is in the mid 90’s he is really good but when he is in the low 90’s he is just good to average. But with he delivery maybe he is taking it easy so he doesn’t ruin his arm and in doing so he is losing a little off his fastball??

Hanson telegraphs every pitch because of the pause at the top of his motion. He will never be a consistent winner

April 3rd, 2011
2:22 am

Enter your comments here

dirtbag blackburn

April 3rd, 2011
3:31 am

Experts everywhere so what tommy was bad and nate don’t throw tommy is tommy and after he throws us to 16 or better wins and mc whatever you people decide to call him hits a productive line of .260 20 65 20 with 70 plus runs he will still be a bum in your eyes right? Well we are at game 2 of this season and I am sure life is ok in the club house. I bet people are damning the redsox for losing 2 already too! Boy that crawford sucks and that rotation can’t get an out? Ha ha well after huddy wins the rubber match and we are 2 and 1 that is a series win with many to come! So breath its a long season it will be ok knowone wins all 162!

dirtbag blackburn

April 3rd, 2011
3:38 am

My heavens the braves lost game 2 of 162 tommy was off and nate didn’t throw to second my land season is shot! Wow and bean town sucks too they can’t get an out and crawford is 0 fer like martin yep year is over there too! Huddy wins game three series victory for braves with more to come come on guys embrace this team its pretty damn solid!

bravesfanbob

April 3rd, 2011
10:29 am

My suggestion to all the people on this blog is that each time we lose a game, we trade the entire team until we get a team that goes undefeated. (Even though that’s never been done before).Let’s start with Hard Onward’s blog to get rid of Prado because he hsn’t gotten a hit. Doesn’t matter that he’s had 3 great plays take away hits that would made his average .375 instead of zero. PEOPLE, THE BRAVES ARE 1-1! GET A LIFE!

NoThrow

April 3rd, 2011
11:00 am

Bad Day, Prado is hitting hard just getting out with spectacular plays Not hitting on McDowell just making a comment that the shot Lowe took last year made the most difference and if all of us see the problem with Hanson then he could correct the flaws like he has done with alot of our pitchers He is a great pitching coach

Ralph

April 3rd, 2011
11:26 am

I know it is only game two and the braves are a good team but they could be a lot better, in my opinion they should move Hanson to the fifth spot until he gets on track and release McOut. If you absolutely must have a center fielder that can’t hit at least have one that can throw the ball. I beleive we should be the best we can possibly be and win every game we can possibly win and we are not doing that and we must if we want to beat out the phillies. With the braves owners it all about money, winning has nothing to do with it.

NoThrow

April 3rd, 2011
12:16 pm

Ralph I agree with you McCant-throw needs to be let go !!

stew

April 3rd, 2011
12:47 pm

I don’t like Nate in the two hole. Idon’t like Freddie in the 8 hole. How about Heyward in the 2 hole, Freddie in the 6 hole, and Nate in the 8 hole. By the way, I think Zimmermann hit a ball that Nate played into a triple. Andruw would have been all over that ball. We need defense out there. Nate just can’t throw at all.He’ll be gone next year. So why don’t we have any idea what our future’s gonna be in centerfield? Matt Young just ain’t the answer. He’s too old. How about inquiring about Mike Trout? The Angels have a surplus of outfielders but I wouldn’t include Teheran/Delgado/Vizcaino in any deal.

wt

April 3rd, 2011
6:57 pm

Hanson is a wus. Torbert homered easy off him in just 2 plate appearances. Torbert said two triple A pitchers are better.

What a wuss baseball team for a pitcher to blame the wind for two minor leagers taking him to the woodshed. lol. What a pathetic tean Atlanta is..all hype, no substance.

wt

April 3rd, 2011
6:58 pm

Better hope no inor leagers get in against Hanson.lol.

wt

April 3rd, 2011
6:59 pm

What’s the center fielder batting? Last I heard he was 168 in Spring. Balls bouncing off his arms. Pathetic.

wt

April 3rd, 2011
7:01 pm

Did the guy who was sent down for 50 games , outfielder, to minors, ever sober up ?He spent a whole day laying on the table i the training room sick (hangover), struck out almost every at bat.

wt

April 3rd, 2011
7:02 pm

Atlanta……no playoff, as usual failures.lol.

NoThrow

April 3rd, 2011
7:41 pm

Wt you show your ignorance in many ways Schafer never was sent down for drinking but suspended for an alleged substance problem that he was NEVER TESTED FOR Pathetic ? look in the mirror moron

wt

April 4th, 2011
4:55 pm

Scahfer was a no show on one day, came in one day and laid on the table all day after he told the team members he was goping to get wasted. Then struck out almost every at bat, got thrown out every steal…pathetic. Almost as pathetic as Hanson blaming the wind for two homers by minor players. Keep it low and outside then, overhyped and over paid pitcher. What a joke of a team..the Braves.

wt

April 4th, 2011
4:56 pm

Tommy Hanson…was it windy the other day at Washington?

wt

April 4th, 2011
4:57 pm

I know. the sun was in his eyes. hahahaha pathetic Atlanta Braves. Heck a Cuban tean would beat the Braves 20 runs. Heck, an independent leadgue team could whup them too.

wt

April 4th, 2011
5:02 pm

Get this, Torbert batted 375, one homer, Hanson, 4 doubles, 8 RBIs, 4 singles and ran a 3.7 to first from the right side. Then had two singles in a practice game.

Torbert said that the Braves were easier to hit than the independent league pitchers. Seems so.

After Torbert hit back to back doubles and 3 RBIs and next day the 3 run homer against Hanson, they moved Torbert to single A.

Talk about protecting the prospects.lol.

wt

April 4th, 2011
5:03 pm

How abouit that single A Ccatcher who batted 240, can’t run and may have to go again to single A? Top prospect?

Pity the poor fans paying big bucks for a 3 -12 left fielder.

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