Hanson is better than Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Avery or Halladay. At least he’s fared better than any of them did in their first five big league starts.
It would be silly to suggest five games signal that Tommy H. will outshine the three former Bravos HOFers and Halladay. (Let’s hope he has a better career than Ave.) Anyway, just for fun, here’s how Hanson’s first five starts compare to those of the other guys:
- Hanson, 4-0, 2.48 ERA
- Smoltz 1-3, 5.53
- Glavine 1-3 7.00
- Maddux, 2-3, 5.40
- Avery, 1-3, 4.23
- Halladay, 2-1, 4.61.
Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux and Avery all had 5+ ERAs as rookies. Halladay was 8-7 with a 3.92 but split time as a reliever and starter. So far, Hanson has shown a knack for wriggling out of trouble. Damian Moss did the same when he won 12 games with a 3.42 ERA as a rookie. He was out of the bigs for good three years later.
But I don’t recall anyone speaking of Moss the way they do of Hanson. Nor do I remember the Aussie lefty having pitches at all comparable to Hanson’s.
Another note from yesterday: On the botched rundown play, KJ should have thrown the ball to second to start the double play. Stupid decision with a hitter about as slow as me and most of you reading. Yet his play was defensible. With a fast hitter, you toss to first, then you’ve got the other runner in a rundown. Sure out.
For the Braves, there are no sure outs, except when we’re hitting. The bigger mistake on the rundown play, I think, was Kotchman’s. Instead of running Youkilis toward second, then throwing to Hernandez, who could then either tag the runner or run him back toward first for an easy play, Oberk, er Kotchman immediately threw to second. That gave the runner room to maneuver. Still should’ve gotten him out.
As if that weren’t enough, KJ made an error that could have been a game-swinger. And on the ball that bounced off his glove and rolled into right field, he lay on his stomach, never bothering to get up and give chase. Joe Simpson reckoned KJ had the breath knocked out of him. I hope so. Would be nice to know, locak organ. If he still had his wind, that play deserves a benching.
In addition to his shoddy defense, KJ, of course, turned in another hitless game, the 9th in his past 10. KJ needs to go away for a while. His average has fallen from .250 to .216 this month. Kelly had 3 doubles in a game on May 31. He has 3 doubles the entire month of June, and June will be over tomorrow.