video thumbnail

ATL@HOU: Hanson fans 14 Astros en route to the win

Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson is slated to make his return to a Major League mound on Tuesday night in Seattle, and his Atlanta teammates are happy to have one of the better starters in the National League back on their side. Meanwhile, the Mariners have a burgeoning ace of their own in rookie righty Michael Pineda, and he'll oppose Hanson at Safeco Field.

Hanson will come off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday for his first outing since going down with right shoulder tendinitis on June 13. Hanson had struck out a career-high 14 against Houston in his last start, and he leads the NL in opponents' batting average (.189) while ranking third in the NL in ERA (2.48).

"It feels good," Hanson said. "I just want to get back out there. I just want to get back to where I was before my shoulder started bothering me. It's been a couple weeks. I just want to get back out there and get things going again and hopefully pick up where I left off.

"The sooner I can get back, the better. So hopefully I can get back out there and help us win."

For all of Hanson's gaudy statistics prior to being shut down, things are going smoothly on the pitching side for Seattle, too.

The Mariners are the only team in baseball to use only five starters so far, and manager Eric Wedge knows that's been a key to his team hanging in the American League West race despite an offense that ranks at the bottom in nearly every category.

"I look at all our starting pitchers and they've really been the backbone to the ballclub to this point," Wedge said Monday. "You like to see that because they're the ones that give you a chance to win the game or not. Our starting five have been fantastic all year."

Pineda is coming off a no-decision in Washington despite seven shutout innings. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Rookie of the Year contender ranks fifth in the AL with a 2.45 ERA and is tied for first among AL rookie starters in wins and is first in ERA, innings, strikeouts and opponents' average.

However, Pineda is on pace to throw about 200 innings, which could be a concern for the 22-year-old. Wedge said he and pitching coach Carl Willis are monitoring the youngster and could make adjustments later in the year, but for now are just planning to keep the rotation on its regular course.

"Michael sticks out, being his first full season and whatnot, but a few of these other guys ... [Erik] Bedard has been a while since he's done it. Obviously [Jason] Vargas built up last year, but he's piling up innings. [Doug] Fister will be throwing longer than he ever has. We've played it out and I think we'll be able to manage it."

Braves: No sweep for you
The Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are the only two clubs in the Majors who have yet to suffer a series sweep of three or more games this season. Both clubs have been swept in two-game series (Atlanta at Arizona, May 18-19). The last time the Braves were swept in a three-game series was Sept. 20-22, 2010, at Philadelphia.

• Catcher Brian McCann clubbed his 14th homer of the season on Monday and has hit five homers in his last eight games and 10 in his last 23 games. In his 23 games since May 28, McCann has batted .361 (30-for-83) with 10 homers and 18 RBIs, lifting his season batting average 26 points (from .281 to .307).

Mariners: Ackley hot out of the gate
Second baseman Dustin Ackley has reached base safely, via hit or walk, in the first 10 games of his Major League career. Since making his debut on June 17, Ackley has hit safely in eight of 11 games (10-for-33, .303) and collected four walks, including at least one in each of his hitless games.

• Mariners starting pitchers have allowed 10 earned runs in 50 innings over the last seven games, a 1.80 ERA. Since June 15 (11 games), Mariners starters have posted a 1.59 ERA, allowing just 14 earned runs in 79 innings.

Worth noting
• The Braves are 33-8 when they score first this season and just 12-27 (.308) when the opponent gets on the board first.

• All six of Mariners outfielder Carlos Peguero's home runs have come against right-handed pitchers.

MLB.com Comments