John Lannan- WAS- Caution- Imagine there’s no road games. It’s easy if you try. That’s what Lannan wishes was the case as he takes the mound in Atlanta. In the Nation’s Capital, he pitches like a Cy Young candidate, with a 1.98 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, allowing 4 homers in 91 IP. Away from Nationals Park it’s a totally different story. Lannan’s ERA is a bloated 5.62, he has a 1.61 WHIP and has given up 11 homers in 57.2 IP. His last road outing was on July 31st against the AAA Pirates and they touched him for 5 runs on 9 hits and a walk in 7 IP.
Tommy Hanson- ATL- FYI- Hanson may be starting to feel the effects of fatigue or perhaps hitters are getting more familiar with him. Over his last 5 starts he has given up at least 2 runs each time. That might not sound bad, but compared to his first 6 starts, when he did that only twice, he shows some signs of returning to earth. Hanson does have difficulty with the strike zone at times. In his last start against San Diego he allowed 3 walks in 6 IP and 31 of his 72 pitches were balls. The Braves’ brain trust is using Hanson very conservatively. Only once has he exceeded 110 pitches in his 11 starts. His ERA has jumped almost a run (from 2.25 to 3.22) since July 4th. Hanson is still a 22-year-old rookie and some bumps on the road are not unexpected.
Roy Oswalt- HOU- Inj Update- Oswalt will be starting for the first time since injuring his back two weeks ago. He had been very good in his first two starts after the All Star Break, allowing 4 runs on 11 hits and a walk while striking out 9 in 16 IP. Oswalt tends to be a strong second half performer, one of the reasons Houston has made late season pushes in many years. Back injuries can be tricky things, but if he seems healthy today, then he is a good bet to provide production the rest of the way.
Michael Bourn- HOU- Hot- In two of his last 3 games, Bourn has picked up a steal without a base hit. He drew walks. No matter how he gets on base, he is a threat to go. Bourn is on a speed roll, with 3 SBs in his last 4 games. He is extremely valuable in that column as he is not vulnerable to hitting slumps.
Troy Tulowitzki- COL- Hot- Tulowitzki’s cycle added 10 points to his season batting average in one day. You don’t see that often in mid-August. He had been impeded by bad luck (.219 BHIPx) but regression to the mean seems to be kicking in with a vengeance. In August Tulowitzki is batting .378. He has not drawn a walk in his past 6 games, but since he has gone 9-for-26 in that span, there is not much to complain about.