The Braves can win without Jurrjens, but not without Hanson

Can Towering Tommy be Mr. October? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Can Tall Tommy be Mr. October? (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

There’s a chance Jair Jurrjens has worked his last inning of 2011, and that doesn’t augur well for a team that stands to play beyond the 162nd game. But the Braves can win the Division Series without Jurrjens if — and this is a mammoth “if” — Tommy Hanson is OK.

A team doesn’t need four starters in Round 1. Figure Tim Hudson starts Games 1 and 4, Hanson (assuming he’s healthy) works Games 2 and 5, and Derek Lowe or Brandon Beachy or Mike Minor gets Game 3. The Braves can win with that rotation.

This assumes that Hanson’s sore shoulder hasn’t just healed but has healed to the extent that he can work on three days’ rest. If not, then a four-man Round 1 rotation would be warranted, and that stretches things mighty thin. That’s not to say it couldn’t be done — Beachy and Minor are good young pitchers, and Lowe has done fine work in Octobers past — but it is to say that way would be much tougher.

Hanson is scheduled to throw a side session today and then, assuming his arm stays attached, work a game in the Instructional League. As strange as it sounds, that appearance against minor-league hitters could be the biggest start any Brave has worked this season.

One more thing: For those of you saying, “The Braves aren’t going to make the playoffs!” … well, the updated numbers at shows them as having a 95.3 percent chance of getting there.

And one other thing: As it stands, the Braves wouldn’t play Milwaukee in the Division Series. Arizona has tied the Brewers in the standings, and the Diamondbacks hold the tiebreaker, having won the head-to-head series 4-3. As hot as Arizona has been — it has won 18 of its past 21 games — I’d rather take my chances with the Snakes. The Brewers pitch better.

By Mark Bradley

142 comments Add your comment


September 14th, 2011
8:06 am


Give me Delgado over Hanson if worst comes to worst

TD Mike

September 14th, 2011
8:07 am

Good Morning Mark! Good article to start the day.

Mark Bradley

September 14th, 2011
8:10 am

Thanks, TD. Kudos, UAB.


September 14th, 2011
8:13 am

Hudson, Beachy (and then) Hanson could pitch in that order. That way 3 days rest would not be needed for Hanson.

Minor has been pitching as well as any starter. Hanson will be nice but he can not counted on.

I would rather see Minor, Tehran or Delgado before Lowe unless Lowe shows that he can atleast compete. He has been bad and getting worse.

JJ and Hanson should be traded as soon as they show that they are healthy enough to be traded.


September 14th, 2011
8:17 am

The braves can’t win in the playoffs. When you are clueless people ever going to get it?

Sly Boarders

September 14th, 2011
8:19 am

I love Chipper Jones, he is absolutely one of my baseball heroes, but his salary is holding this team hostage. He is worth every penny, but this team is afloat only because of these young arms, and the thing about young arms is that one day those arms grow up and want big-arm money. Lowe leaving will pay for one or two of them, but more will have to come from elswhere. Plus, there’s Bourne and heaven forbid another outfielder to think about. Hopefully, the salary budget goes up, but I think I know better than to hope too hard for that.


September 14th, 2011
8:26 am

You gotta’ roll with Hudson, Hanson, and Beachy. If not Hanson, then Minor. These guys remind me of the ‘69 Mets, with their young guns. Give ‘em the chance to shine.

braves rule!

September 14th, 2011
8:30 am

Id rather we face the snakes as well, we need Hanson healthy, with Huddy starting gm 1, Beachy and then Hanson, thats as good a rotation we can have…


September 14th, 2011
8:31 am

You know… MB reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s ROTC character in Animal House. As the town is going nuts, and all you-know-what is breaking loose.. he stands in the middle of the mob screaming “Don’t Panic! All is well!” – right before he gets trampled by a stampede of people.


September 14th, 2011
8:32 am

You can debate pitchers but if we’ve got men on base and Alex Gonzalez or Jason Heyward are standing at the plate taking called strikes it won’t matter.The hitters need to get hot and stay hot.


September 14th, 2011
8:35 am

Does anyone believe Fredi is putting his best players on the field?That what he says he will do but is it really happening?


September 14th, 2011
8:38 am

Thanks, Mark. There’s been alot of negativity lately. Appreciate your optimism. I believe this will be a very different postseason than last. go braves!

the truth...

September 14th, 2011
8:42 am

Every day when listening to the pre-game show on 680theFan I get sick listening to Leo run his mouth and every day saying the same thing….not to worry; he’ll be fine; I’m not concerned, etc, etc.

Then he mixes in “when we…”; …. “we did..” etc….

But yesterday he said a couple of things that stood out ….that he didn’t see Hanson being ready. Leo noted that he was at the 30 pitch mark in testing the arm; th is only testing it. Leo doesn’t see there is time for him to get the arm going, build up the strength and work up to having the endurance to pitch effectively….

For all of Leo’s continual non-reality statements, these make sense…..bummer that it is. Hanson like JJ has had very little left after the AS Break and so any supposition that he can/will be ready to throw meaningful innings against the toughest offenses in the NL just don’t compute with me….


September 14th, 2011
8:45 am

The picture above tells us why Mr Hanson’s shoulder is barking at him. Rest is never the answer.


September 14th, 2011
8:45 am

We can win with Beachy and Minor if and it’s a very big if. We’ve got to hit and score some runs!


September 14th, 2011
8:47 am

I think Hanson is a great pitcher and the Braves need him to be healthy this postseason. But I am afraid with the way he throws the ball he will always have these shoulder problems. Lets Go Braves!!!

Daybed Wagmoe

September 14th, 2011
8:53 am

Hanson (assuming he’s healthy) works Games 2 and 5…This assumes that Hanson’s sore shoulder hasn’t just healed but has healed to the extent that he can work on three days’ rest.

Schedule for round 1:

Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 1
Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 2
Game 3: Tuesday, Oct. 4
Game 4: Wednesday, Oct. 5 (if necessary)
Game 5: Friday, Oct. 7 (if necessary)

If Hanson were to start games 2 and 5 of the NLDS, as you suggest, then he’d be pitching on regular rest, not 3 days’ rest.

Master Yoda

September 14th, 2011
8:54 am

Rickster, You need to bone up on your movie trivia. Kevin Bacon was no where near Animal House. Poor analogy to boot.

Space Monkey

September 14th, 2011
8:56 am

Beachy should go first. Hudson has been awful. Lowe shouldn’t even be on the playoff roster. I doubt Hanson will be anywhere near ready. I would go: Beachy, Hudson, Minor, Delgado. If it came down to an elimination game, I’d start the bullpen. Two innings of Kimbrel, two of Venters, two of O’Flaherty, two of Teharan.

Ted Abernathy

September 14th, 2011
8:59 am

I was wondering why georgia is 0-2 with the top ten recruiting classes year after year?


September 14th, 2011
9:00 am

Ok, here’s the voice of reason. The Braves will make the playoffs, and may win the division series, but probably only if it is against Arizona. Then they will face the Phils and get swept, just like they did last week.

The Braves seem to be limping into the post-season this year just like last year. They need to start thinking about the off-season. It’s time to get a big bat, a big game pitcher (one that compares to one of the big three of the Phils), and a plan for Chipper’s replacement at third.


September 14th, 2011
9:01 am

Count on Hanson and JJ both not pitching in the postseason. Sore shoulders are nothing to mess with. Hudson goes game one with Beachy in game 2 and Delgado in game 3. So what if they are rookies. They have been pitching their a**es off and have been MUCH better than Lowe has. Experience in the playoffs only gets you so far. If you can’t make pitches then it doesn’t matter if you have no experience or 10 years experience.

Now, it’s obvious that Freddi and Roger don’t know how to run a pitching staff (take last night for example. Why is Venters in with a 5 run lead??) I assume that Hudson will go game 1 Lowe game 2 and Beachy/Minor in game 3.

I’d rather play a cold team than a hot team. The Orioles can beat anybody if they are hot. These guys are professionals. A cold Red Sox team is as beatable as anybody.


September 14th, 2011
9:05 am

Master Yoda I think you need to go back and watch Animal House again.


September 14th, 2011
9:07 am

They are going to have to. Sore shoulders are nothting to mess with and if he threw 20 pitches last week and felt like he “over did it” then he’s most likely not coming back. I would like to see Hudson in game 1 Beachy in game 2 and Delgado in game 3. Experience only gets you so much and if you’re not executing pitches it doesn’t matter how experienced you are. You can’t ask “who has the most experience” but rather “who gives me the best chance to win?” The answer to the second half of that is not Derrick Lowe.

Judging how neither Gonzales nor McDowell know how to run a pitching staff (take last night for a perfect example with Venters in with a 5 run lead) I guess Hudson, Lowe, and then Beachy/Minor will throw.

I’d rather face a cold team than a hot team. A hot Orioles club can beat anybody in the league, they are still professionals. A cold Red Sox team can get beat by anybody.

Don Poyner

September 14th, 2011
9:12 am

The Braves may as well forget about having a good pitching staff. It is impossible to sign and develop enough quality pitching FAST ENOUGH to provide a pitching staff FOR McDOWELL FOR AS FAST AND AS MANY PITCHERS HE HAS GOING DOWN WITH INJURIES. It’s not like one or two pitchers or one or two years — Every year since he has been the Pitching Coach, haven’t the Braves had TWO OR THREE of their starters go down with serious injuries – one year, wasn’t it FOUR out of the five projected starters. At first, people were trying to say, that it was mainly older pitchers — this can no longer be used as a justification. And this is to say nothing of all the injuries to relief pitchers. When you have two potential young star pitchers down just this year, this is difficult to justify. And some of these pitchers may never come back and be really effective. Whether this is because of his conditioning program or the way he handles pitchers or just bad luck, IT IS WAY PAST TIME FOR A CHANGE. Under Leo we never had any thing like this number of inuries.


September 14th, 2011
9:12 am

Mark, please don’t say they “can’t” win.
You never know when another player will get in some strange zone and play like a Hall of Famer, even if he is young.
If the Braves go into the playoffs believing they can’t win, then they surely won’t.


P.S. I’m not being rose-colored glass-wearing. I know the task is gigantic. But it is not impossible.

journalist jimmy smith

September 14th, 2011
9:13 am

toes: place the ball in the hands of the pitcher with the healthiest toes. yes, toes. good toe health is fundamental to good baseball. shoulders and knees may come into play but toes will save the day. toes are not to be trifled with.

shoes: jason heyward’s shoes may be too tight resulting in uncomfortable toes. uncomfortabale toes result in no power from a power hitter. toes are not to be trifled with.


September 14th, 2011
9:14 am

All of you counting on Hanson are out of your minds. This guy has ben nothing but a walking injury since he was called up. Even if he comes back in time for the playoffs I am not sure I would want him out there. It has been well over a month since he last pitched and I dont want someone knocking the rust off in a playoff series. The young guys have pitched well lately (Minor, Delgado, Tehran) and sem to gain more confidence every time out. Just my two cents worth.

sick fan

September 14th, 2011
9:15 am

sick of watching lowe STINK up the place

Chip Diller

September 14th, 2011
9:23 am

Time for new name Master Yoda.


September 14th, 2011
9:27 am

The Braves have a bigger problem than pitching. If score no runs, you don’t win.

Heyward grounds out to second

September 14th, 2011
9:29 am

If D Lowe continues to pitch the way he has, he should not be on the post season roster. I’d go like this as of right now.

Game 1- Hudson
Game 2- Beachy
Game 3- Delgado or Minor

As insane as that sounds, unless Hanson can make at least two starts and they must be good starts, I wouldn’t risk it.

D Lowe unless he makes some good starts, despite his experience, has no business being on the post season roster at this moment. Hudson needs to turn it around himself, but has been pretty consistent all year.

formidable rotation ?

September 14th, 2011
9:29 am

Mark – I agree completely with your assessment. The Braves rotation doesn’t look FORMIDABLE for the playoffs without EITHER a healthy Hanson or Jurrgens. We might sneak through a first round…but will need all our horses for the Phillies.

But I do think the Braves everyday lineup looks the best in has in years…..nice mix of speed and power…will clutch hitting fall into place?


September 14th, 2011
9:30 am

Bring in a new pitching coach next year. Since mcdowell became the coach we have had more injured pitchers every season, especially toward the end of the season, during the middle of the season etc. It’s about time to face it, he has not done a good job keeping them healthy.


September 14th, 2011
9:30 am

29th!!!!!!!!!! Go Braves.

iago's yoda

September 14th, 2011
9:31 am

master yoda, an idiot, you are.


September 14th, 2011
9:32 am

Mark: Despite last night’s breakthrough (busting out of the extended team slump), I’m not countng chickens before they are hatched. However, success in this post season has diminished significantly due to what has happened to our starters. Prior to the injuries and Lowe’s rising ERA, I felt like we had a real WS chance. Now I hope we survive the first round. I am very comfortable with Beachy -vs- Hanson, but we need them both to perform well (and Minor). I agree—I’d rather face the Snakes over the Brew crew in the first round. If we go deep into the playoffs I believe it will be because the young arms respond well to the pressure and come through for us when they are needed..


September 14th, 2011
9:32 am

Obviously, Yoda doesn’t get HBO on Tatooine!


September 14th, 2011
9:33 am

Whether the first round use 3 or 4 starting pitchers, it should leave some combination of Delgado, Teheran, Minor in the bullpen for long relief. So there is a much shorter hook on the starter. As bad as Lowe has been, he can usually get through 3-4 innings before blowing up. So as soon as he puts 2 guys on base after the 4th inning has started, have a short reliver get out of that inning then just use one of those guys for another 3-4 innings and let O’VentBril finish if off.


September 14th, 2011
9:34 am

The thing that the Braves have got to do if they are going to move on in the playoffs is HIT. If not forget about who is pitching. Over the winter we have to set up a plan to get rid of JJ and Hanson in the next couple of years because they have Boros as their agent and management does not want to work with him. The same holds true for Bourn.
One other thing they have to do with the big four is strech their arms out so they can pitch more than five innings, look at the Phillies how they even get complete games out of some of there pitchers.

dick's dungeon

September 14th, 2011
9:35 am

Hanson cannot hold men on first; therefore a single or a walk puts guys on second base and in scoring position. It pains me to watch him when men are on base; and evidently he refuses or does not know how to change his delivery. JJ is a pouter and tends to cave in under pressure. The Braves can do quite well without either of them. What they need is for their offense to heat up and get people in when there are men on 1st and 3rd with less than two outs.


September 14th, 2011
9:38 am

Just Great! My prior post went into the ajc’s black hole again.


September 14th, 2011
9:39 am

Don’t worry so much about who’s pitching worry about the offense. No hitting no moving on.

Herschel Talker

September 14th, 2011
9:41 am

Master Yoda:

If you don’t think Kevin Bacon was anywhere near Animal House, you need to get a clue buddy.



September 14th, 2011
9:42 am

Big deal. They finally won a game. They will still find a way to blow it.
One out of twelve games they finally hit the ball and I’m suppose to get excited?

Honest Ingine

September 14th, 2011
9:47 am

Hey, Be thankful, ATLANTA is back in the Post Season. Al, stick it in your ear and move out of town. You are not a Braves fan around but you definitely are the most negative person in these blogs. Whether we make it past the first round or not, getting there is the journey and it has been a wild ride since 1990. Take a look at the other cities who’s team never is in the hunt…Now they have something to complain about…

Honest Ingine

September 14th, 2011
9:50 am

Good article Mark, here we are in September talking Baseball, doesn’t get better than this…

clark kent

September 14th, 2011
9:52 am

So its McDowell’s fault that pitchers get injured?

Some of you guys are comical.


September 14th, 2011
9:53 am



September 14th, 2011
9:54 am

Yeah Kevin Bacon plays a frat boy nerd in Animal House.