Again, sorry for the lateness of getting back into the blog posting bit. Today, we signed the contract on our house and Tuesday, we have an inspection. So…that part is good.
Against my advice, the Braves and their mental midget-in-charge Fredi Gonzalez chose to go with a six-man rotation now that Tommy Hanson is perfectly healthy (wink, wink) and no longer suffering from any back pain (nudge, nudge). Tonight, Hanson went 6.2 ING against the Dodgers before being unceremoniously removed following an RBI double by Shane Dick-torino. The basic lines were the same as usual. 7 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, and 5 K’s with a homer allowed. And that included a pair of perfect frames to open the game. 62 of his 100 pitches went for strikes. He again struggled to hit 90 mph with much consistency.
As my old friend Dennis Green might say, Hanson was who we thought he was. Wait, he WAS who we THOUGHT he WAS. I always forget to speak with the right amount of manufactured outrage.
Meanwhile, Kris Medlen tossed a five-hit shutout against the Padres the previous night, lowering his already stellar ERA to 2.03 with a nasty 2.61 FIP. He’s been awesome and I am wondering if his work is making the Braves believe that with Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm, and Mike Minor already returning (provided Maholm’s option is picked up), Medlen fits nicely behind them and allows Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran to battle for the fifth spot.
Still…send him to the bullpen to close the year.
I know it’s unfair and I know that Medlen deserves a better spot, but at the same time, the differences between Medlen and the other non-Hansonish starters is not great. On the other hand, the difference between Medlen and Chad Durbin is huge.
It’s not right and I do believe Medlen as the fourth starter in 2013 is a cinch provided he remains healthy. However, the Braves need to find out what they have with Hanson. In 2011, he looked like a budding ace. In 2012, he’s an afterthought. I understand Atlanta is competing for a playoff spot, but Hanson’s not so bad that he won’t occasionally luck into a win. He was “meh” tonight and the Braves were able to win. Think Meh-anson could catch on? I don’t care, it’s my new thing.
Meh-anson has roughly seven, maybe more, starts to remind Atlanta of what they have always envisioned. I doubt he will suddenly be able to turn it on, but stranger things have happened (like the fact that Juan Francisco suddenly looks like a true MLB talent). In the meantime, improve the pen with the arrival of Medlen. Tonight, due to a six-man bullpen, Fredi must demand innings out of his starting rotation. Every Day Cory was demoted and you have to think Fredi would have not sent Hanson out in the seventh inning of a 2-1 game if he had a seven-man pen. Hell, knowing Fredi, he would have used three guys to pitch the seventh. Regardless, maybe a run would have been spared.
This idea that the six-man rotation will be used until this run of 500 Games of Summer ends and the project is truly a try-out period seems utterly ridiculous to me. Either you are demoting Minor or Medlen to the bullpen in September. Meds has already proven his value coming out of the pen, even if Fredi doesn’t realize it. I’d scrap the entire idea, but okay, do your fancy six-man staff until September and prove to yourself what you already knew. Medlen can be a starter in the majors.
And he will be.
In April of 2013.