Hanrahan glad to be a reliever now
Joel Hanrahan has been nasty in 2010 for the Pirates. He boasts a 3.72 ERA with six saves. The most dominating stat, however, is his 96 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched.
I sometimes forget that Hanrahan hasn’t always been a reliever. Before he was called up to the majors he was almost exclusively a starter. In 189 appearances in the minors, 182 of them were starts. Compiling a 67-49 records over eight seasons with the Nationals’ minor league teams he is glad he is a reliever now.
“As a starter sometimes I would try to sink the ball and I would try to throw change-ups, sliders, and fastballs –and just really try to mix it up,” Hanrahan said. “Sometimes I’d be thinking about a guy’s next at bat when he came up instead of worrying about the next pitch. I was really playing the game out too far in my head.”
“And a lot of times if I got a first pitch strike I was going to go for the strikeout, and as a starter that gets you in trouble. You do that and you throw a lot of pitches. The manager hated me because I threw a hundred pitches in five innings every time. I might go out there and give up two hits and no runs but still throw a hundred pitches in five innings, and so he had to go to the bullpen. I wasn’t pitch efficient.”
“As a reliever, I just go out there and I’m like, ‘Alright, you’ve got three outs to get and you’re probably done. Let’s go out there with everything you’ve got, leave it all out there today, and you’ve got 23 hours to be back and ready to pitch.’ That’s what I like.”
Hanrahan is sitting on 96 strikeouts this season –his career high is 93– third most in the National League behind Carlos Marmol (134) and Tyler Clippard (108). He has only walked 25 batters in his 67.2 innings pitched this year. Hanrahan hits 95-98 MPH regularly on the gun and it has been reported that he hit 99 on several occasions this season.
I’d say being a reliever is working out pretty well for him.
“I’ve always been a guy that has pretty good strikeout numbers, even in the minor leagues,” Hanrahan said. “I don’t get too many double play balls. I don’t have a sinker and I don’t get a lot of ground balls. So I find myself in situations where I need to get a strikeout and fortunately I’ve been able to get them.”
“You know how they say hitters get the home runs, and chicks dig the home runs? Well, I like the strikeouts. I figure if guys aren’t putting the ball in play you have a better chance. You never know what can happen when the ball gets put in play. That attitude can get me in trouble sometimes, but especially if I have two outs I’m going to try and strike him out for that third out. I really enjoy strikeouts.”
I think that if Hanrahan continues to put up the numbers he has, “Chick dig the strikeouts” shirts will be the new rage.