Tommy Hanson More Effective But Still Lacking:
After a poor season debut in which he was knocked out early against the Nationals, Hanson needed a better start in Milwaukee to get on the right track and keep the Braves close against a solid Shaun Marcum. While he wasn't at his best, Hanson did keep the Braves in the game and managed to reach the sixth inning despite early struggles.
Hanson gave up a two-run home run to Ryan Braun - his fourth career homer against Hanson - in the first inning, and it seemed nothing had changed from the start in Washington. But after he allowed a run in the second inning on a good play by Nyjer Morgan, Hanson settled in and looked better.
Hanson pitched four scoreless innings following the fielder's choice to George Kottaras in the second inning that scored Morgan. He gave up a double to Prince Fielder, a single to Kottaras, a single to Braun and a single to Casey McGehee. But he also struck out two with no walks and held all baserunners where they stood.
In looking at the zone map, Hanson's struggles seemed to be largely due to the breaking stuff. Six of his eight hits allowed came on sliders, including a hanging slider to Braun that resulted in the home run. Of his 89 pitches thrown, 25% were sliders, which is up from the 16% in his first start. This could be due to the lack of fastball command in his first start, and perhaps a lack of feel during his bullpen and warmups, but whatever the reason it didn't go as he had hoped.
The fact that he upped his slider count after a poor outing with the fastball is not a good sign. Also not good is a drop in fastball velocity by a full mile per hour this early in the year.
Stat of the Day:
Hanson allowed five line drives in 5.1 innings.
(MIL) Ryan Braun: .208
(MIL) Shaun Marcum: .185
(MIL) George Kottaras: .095
(ATL) Alex Gonzalez: -.225
(ATL) Peter Moylan: -.121
(MIL) Casey McGehee: -.101
Game graph courtesy of FanGraphs: