At this point in the 2012 Major League Baseball season, what else could go wrong within the Atlanta Braves starting rotation? Tim Hudson began the season on the disabled list. Brandon Beachy saw his season cut short after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Jair Jurrjens has been hit or miss, but mostly miss. Randall Delgado's first chance at being a full-time big league starter was a flop. Mike Minor has had problems finding the strike zone. Even Tommy Hanson has been hot and cold this season. The team tried bringing in one starter from the Chicago Cubs (Ryan Dempster), but that trade fell through and they brought in another (Paul Maholm). It's a good thing they added Maholm and have a capable Kris Medlen available because Hanson has landed on the disabled list with a lower back strain. The only bright spot has been Ben Sheets, who has made three great starts since the Braves helped him dust off his throwing shoulder.
Despite not pitching up to the standards that many have for Hanson this season, he still leads the team in wins (12), strikeouts (114) and is second in ERA (4.29). Even when Hanson has struggled this season, he has still found a way to get wins. On July 25, he had one of the strangest stat lines I have ever seen, allowing one earned run on three hits in five innings with seven strikeouts, walks and stolen bases allowed. The Miami Marlins saw something in his delivery that made them think they could steal bases, and they were right.
If this injury occurred even two weeks ago, I would have been a lot more worried about Atlanta's chances at catching the Washington Nationals in the National League East. With the addition of Maholm and the ability of Medlen to start, the team won't need to rely on the unsteady arm of Jurrjens, and the young arms of Delgado or Julio Teheran. The more time those two players have in the minor leagues, the better off the franchise is going to be in the future.
Now, the team needs to just hope that Hanson can get his back right and get ready for the stretch run. With the possibility of the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg, the Braves would love to have a healthy Hanson ready to lead the team past Washington.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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- Atlanta Braves
- Tommy Hanson
- Major League Baseball
- Paul Maholm
- Jair Jurrjens