Tommy Hanson Returns To The DL Photo courtesy

Hanson Sharp Enough In Return From DL; Braves Top Mariners, 5-4

Hello again everyone from the summer paradise of southeast Michigan, where it’s about 70 degrees as it approaches 1:30 EST.

The Braves “Summer Paradise” tour of the Pacific Northwest continued tonight as well, with the Braves besting the Mariners in an exciting 5-4 contest that featured good hitting, defense, and a little offense too.

Tommy Hanson battled rust early on, as hanging sliders cost him 3 runs in the first four innings, including a lead-off homer by Ichiro Suzuki (his first home run of the year) and a long blast by Jack Cust. As the game went on Tommy got sharper and sharper, winding up with eight strikeouts and six hits in six innings. In holding Seattle to 3 runs, he also racked up a “quality start” in what by rights should have been a rehab appearance for him.

The biggest jam of the night came courtesy of none other than George Sherrill. Sherrill gave up 3 hits and a walk to the 5 hitters he faced. He was saved from a disastrous outing by Brian McCann, who threw out a runner on the back end of a double steal attempt for the second out of the inning. Scott Proctor relieved Sherrill and recorded the last out of the inning.

Jonny Venters came in to pitch the eighth inning and got the Mariners three up and three down. It was not a boring half inning, though. Venters was actually throwing harder than I’ve ever seen him throw, sitting at 96-98 with his fastball. The extra velocity seemed to impair his sink, as the first two batters squared up the ball, hitting deep line drives to right. The second batter, Jack Cust, actually hit the ball harder than the ball that went for a home run, except without backspin, allowing Jason Heyward to make a great catch running into the scoreboard. Venters retired the last batter on strikes, as his fastball settled in at 94-95 MPH.

Craig Kimbrell notched his 22nd save in 27 tries, striking out two around a single and a wild pitch in the ninth. The game was in doubt all the way to the last pitch, which resulted in a pop up out to Alex Gonzalez off the bat of Justin Smoak.

On the offensive side, it was once again a tale of few hits. Brian McCann had four singles and two RBI’s, Dan Uggla hit his 12th homer, and Jordan Schafer had a clutch RBI single in the seventh, scoring the third run for the Braves and tying the game 3-3 at that point. McCann followed with his two RBI single that gave the Braves a 5-3 lead and the cushion they needed to withstand Sherill’s performance. In total, their eight hits, six walks, and a hit batsman gave the Braves the most base-runners they’ve had in quite some time. I know it’s only one game, but I’m hereby declaring it a trend!

The Braves send Derek Lowe to the mound tomorrow afternoon against “King” Felix Hernandez. Hopefully we’ll see “Good Derek” throw another one or two hitter. Bring your brooms!

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Tags: Alex Gonzalez Atlanta Braves Braves Brian Mccann Craig Kimbrel Dan Uggla Derek Lowe George Sherrill Jonny Venters Jordan Schafer Tommy Hanson

  • Dane from Indy

    How ridiculous has McCann been over the past month? From ESPN:

    “Since May 28, McCann is hitting .391 with 10 homers and 21 RBIs and has more than half of Atlanta’s 13 hits in the first two games of this series.”

    We’d be so hosed without this guy. Oh, and our starting pitching. Hopefully Lowe continues the trend.

  • Fred Owens

    No surprise that that Shaky Sherrill was the weak link. I stayed up this time writing my post for today and just shook my head and hoped the damage wouldn’t be too bad when he came in.
    I have a friend who keeps telling me that the traditional numbers are still the best guide. My post will show that in some cases they are. In a relief pitcher’s case however WHIP and inherited runners are better. There isn’t a stat for “he left us worse off but we won” or “we were behind when he started and further behind when he left” in non save situations. ERA partially captures that of course but is so skewed towards starters it isn’t accurate enough to judge effectiveness.
    Everyone needs a lefty, why is no one asking for our excess lefty Sherrill? The answer isn’t that hard to find.

    @ Dane: you are absolutely correct. Without Mac we are so far behind the Phillies and probably the Mets they’d be talking about blowing up the team and starting over. What we’re seeing is a superstar catcher putting the team on his back and dragging them almost single handed towards the post season.
    If an uninjured Joe Mauer is worth $23 million because he’s from the area and won a batting title, what’s Brian McCann (6.5 this year, 8.5 2012, 12 in 2013) worth to say New York or Boston who have nothing close to his talent in their system? I shudder to think of losing him. I also worry that a catcher is always in danger. The Twinkies are tied to 23 million for the next 7 years and Mauer is becoming as injury prone as Jason.

  • Bob Horton

    Hi Dane,

    I agree! If MVP means most valuable to your team, and if the team needs to be a contender, then at this point McCann is almost a lock for MVP based on output to-date.

    It probably won’t play out that way, but it sure fits the arguments you normally hear made for the award.

    Let’s hope he keeps it up and that the discussion is still valid in October!