Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Battle of the Future

On Tuesday night at Nationals Park, Nats' phenom RHP Stephen Strasburg will take on the Braves young star RHP Tommy Hanson in what should be an epic pitching duel.  The main difference?  Hanson (8-6) is playing for something, while Strasburg (5-2) is playing for an early end to his season.

Tommy Hanson is just one star in the very impressive rotation that the Nationals rotatoin will have to face over the next 3 days.  On Wednesday, the Nats get to face Tim Hudson (10-5) and on Thursday they face Derek Lowe (10-8).  This year, Hanson has been good, but not unhittable.  In 2009, his rookie year, Hanson posted a most impressive 2.89 ERA over a half season or so of work (21 games). 

It just so happens that Tuesday's game will be Hanson's 21st start of his sophomore season, so we can do some semi-accurate comparisons.  Semi-accurate because the Braves are in the heat of a playoff race this year.  This year, Hanson has posted an ERA that the Nats would be jealous to have in their rotation, 4.12.  He's struck out almost as many this year as last year at this point, and has given up 9 fewer walks.  He has a respectable 114 Ks on the year.  The Braves have lost Hanson's last 2 starts, though.

Meanwhile, in less than half the number of starts that Hanson's had this year, Stephen Strasburg already has 75 strikeouts, has an impressive 2.32 ERA.  Even more impressive, the Nationals have won Strasburg's last 4 starts. 

An interesting Nationals Park matchup, Strasburg's home ERA is a meager 2.03, but when Hanson isn't pitching at Turner Field, he has posted a 3.83 ERA.  Also making the duel interesting, Strasburg is pitching for a strong end to his very short season, while Hanson is pitching to help the Braves make the playoffs and for a top of the rotation spot if they get there.  All in all, it should be a great day for baseball in the District.

Coming off of a rest day, we can hope to see some resemblance of a passable lineup today for the Nats.  But there's always a chance that Harris or Kennedy can get a random WTF start because Hanson is a righty, and the way the lineups have been posted lately, I would not be surprised.  Only time will tell.  Now that I'm back in town and won't be posting from New Jersey based on all I can see on ESPN Gamecast or MLB.com's Scoreboard, I hope to have some more interesting things to share with you over the next few days.  Until next time, all.

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