By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Wanting more from Braves new world
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
At 1:36 Sunday afternoon, the Braves entered their new world.

That’s when Tommy Hanson, the Braves’ Next Great Pitcher, hurled his first major league pitch to Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers.

By 1:37, Hanson had retired Counsell for his first major league out. By 1:39, he had also retired J. J. Hardy and Ryan Braun, negotiating his first big-league inning in one-two-three fashion.

Nothin’ to it.

Before the clock struck two, Hanson had struck out Prince Fielder, Mike Cameron and Mat Gamel — all swinging — in a glorious second inning.
Piece of cake.

By the time another quarter-hour had elapsed, Hanson had added a perfect third inning to his brief resume.

Hey, how about a challenge?

Or, perhaps, a rude awakening.

Hanson lost his perfect game in the fourth, when Yunel Escobar misplayed Hardy’s grounder. Moments later he lost his no-hitter and shutout when Braun homered.

The fifth featured a two-out single by Jason Kendall. Since Kendall is a catcher who once dislocated his foot in a hideous collision, the Braves brain trust elected to allow him to steal second. Immediately, Hanson allowed pitcher Manny Parra to drive a pitch to the base of the wall in right. Jeff Francoeur gave futile chase as Kendall lumbered home.

Ouch. Quite the rookie mistake there.

By three o’clock, Hanson’s major league debut closed its curtain. The final act featured a pair of two-run homers by Braun and Cameron.

How perfect. Just like this year’s edition of the Braves, Hanson’s effort left us wanting more.

After all the hype, all the build-up, all the anticipation, not to mention the first trip through the Brewers lineup, we expected a better finish than we got. We’d been led to believe that we’d get more than we got from Kris Medlen in his debut on May 21. Instead, we got more of the same.
We expected more from Hanson, and rightfully so. After all, this is the guy the Braves brass chose over Tom Glavine. You know, the 305-game winner who pitched the game of his life in clinching the Atlanta Braves only World Series championship.

But as the Braves’ peerless leader, Frank Wren, reminded us last week, you can’t put any stock in the minor league numbers posted by Glavine. Logically, the same holds for Hanson.

Bear in mind that this Braves team has been assembled with the intention of challenging for the division title. This year. How else to explain last week’s trade for Nate McLouth?

Unless you’re so cynical that you believe cutting Glavine loose had something to do with cutting costs.

No? Consider that entering their current homestand, the Braves were drawing only 23,965 patrons per game. Their average attendance topped only Cincinnati (22,031), Washington (20,967), Florida (18,763) and Pittsburgh (16,884) among their national league rivals. Pittsburgh, of course, is the team that just unloaded McLouth.

We had every right to want more offense out of the Braves once they added an all-star center fielder to replace the not-yet-ready-for-anytime player Jordan Schafer. McLouth’s a guy who joined the Braves and immediately became the team leader in home runs, runs batted in and stolen bases.

Instead, we got back-to-back shutouts.

Two weeks ago, we wanted more than a 2-5 record on a trip to San Francisco and Arizona. The trip did end with a big win over the Diamondbacks, with Medlen pitching six solid innings.

That preceded Tuesday night’s effort. Courtesy of the ever-accommodating Cubs, the Braves notched their most exhilarating win of the season.

They overcame a 5-0 deficit with three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth, then pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the 12th.

The ensuing celebration, worthy of the College World Series, cemented the notion that this was a win that could turn around the entire season. A win that could really get the Braves rolling. All they had to do was build on it.

Again, we wanted more, and the Braves gave us a heartbreaking 3-2, 11-inning loss to the Cubs.

So here we are. Surely the Hanson of the future will more closely resemble the confident pitcher of his first three innings, rather than the rattled thrower of his second three. Surely the new lineup will produce once McLouth settles in. Surely upcoming series with the Pirates and Orioles will entice the Braves to get on a nice roll.

Then again, wanting more from these guys seems to result in less.