Hanrahan brings the heat
Joel Hanrahan doesn’t need to trick the batters when he is on the mound. His fastball is regularly clocked in the 95-98 MPH range. –He has reportably hit 99 on several occasions this season.– Hitters be aware, because the heat is coming.
“Basically I just throw it as hard as I can and if I hit my spots I know I’m going to be successful,” said Hanrahan. ” I’ve tried throwing a sinker before, but I never really threw it for strikes. So I keep it pretty simple with a four-seamer and a slider. I have two pitches and they’ve been pretty successful for me.”
In the 33 appearences Hanrahan had with the Pirates in ’09, he posted a 1.72 ERA. In Joel’s first 62 outings this year, he is 3-1 with four saves and a 3.56 ERA. The most impressive stat, however, is that he struck out 86 batters in 60.2 innings while walking just 19.
And remember, Hanrahan missed some spring training and the begining of the season with an elbow injury. (He was activated on April 12th)
“When they said I didn’t need any surgery and just to rest, I really wanted to try and make it back for Opening Day and I felt like I could have done that,” Hanrahan said. “But luckily the trainers and the (coaching) staff told me to take my time. That was probally a good idea. If you try to come back too fast you never know what could happen.”
Before the 2010 season started, Hanrahan believed he would be the Pirates new closer. However, they ended up signing Octavio Dotel who took that role.
“We didn’t make any moves in the bullpen until later on in the off-season, so yeah, I felt like I had a chance to be the eigth or ninth inning guy,” Hanrahan said. “That was the position that I wanted to be in and I felt like I had done enough to earn that spot until they signed Dotel and Brendan Donnelly.”
During the trade deadline, Dotel was traded to the Dodgers and it was annouced by Manager John Russell that both Hanrahan and Evan Meek would have oppurtunities to close.
“After the trades, we were both throwing the ball really well and they said, “We don’t have one closer. We’re going to use them both,” Hanrahan said. “That was good for us because one or the other might have gotten upset. We both felt like we had been throwing the ball well and deserved a chance to close. Now they’re using both of us, so that’s good. We just have to be prepared for whatever.”
But is it possible for Hanrahan and Meek –who went 4-2 with a pair of saves and a 2.05 ERA in his first 60 appearences this season– to be friends even when they are both fighting for the same job?
“Yeah, you have to be buddies with the guy,” Hanrahan said. “We’re in this as a team and we’re doing everything we can to win games as a team, and that takes 25 guys, not just one or two. Evan and I know that we both need each other in order to be successful. We feed off each other, and obviously the year he’s had has been outstanding. Donnelly ad Dotel told him to go out there and be more aggressive. ‘You have 96-97 with cut. That’s hard to hit, so go out there and throw strikes and be agressive.’ He really took that to heart and he’s had a great year.”
Hanrahan –who has already surpassed his career high 93 strikeouts– is currently sitting on 96 and with six games left in the season, has a good change to hit number 100.
“That would be pretty cool,” Hanrahan said.