The Angels send Tommy Hanson to the mound tonight hoping he can continue his dominance of the Astros and end the Halos 4-game losing streak. Hanson has a 4-0 record in six career starts against Houston. While pitching for the Atlanta Braves, Hanson held Astros hitters to a .155 average and piled up 50 strikeouts in 42 innings.
Hanson’s last outing against the Astros was a 6-4 Braves win last April. It wasn’t his best outing against the ‘Stros, as he lasted only five innings — but he still managed to fan eight. In previous years Hanson was absolutely dominant against the Astros. However, the big right-hander has experienced a steady decline in velocity over the past few seasons.
Hanson’s fastball averaged 92.7 m.p.h. in 2010. In 2011, he slipped to 91.1 m.p.h. Last year Hanson was down to 89.6 and in his first start of this season he averaged only 87.7 m.p.h. on his heater. This is a trend that prompted the Braves to trade him during the offseason.
Here’s a look at how the players in tonight’s lineup have fared against Hanson.
Tommy Hanson (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)
Jose Altuve 1/3 1K
Justin Maxwell 1/4 1K
Jason Castro 0/2
Chris Carter never faced
Carlos Pena 1/5 3K 1BB
J.D. Martinez 0/3 2K
Rick Ankiel 2/5 1HR 2K 1BB
Matt Dominguez never faced
Marwin Gonzalez 1/2
Although Bo Porter told Brian McTaggart that Brett Wallace would be back in the lineup tonight, the struggling first-baseman remains on the bench. Wallace is hitless in nine career at-bats against Hanson, including five strikeouts.
The Angels, lauded as one of the best teams in the American League, have yet to get on track. Their 2-7 record has them in the cellar of the Western division, one game behind the Astros.