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Time To Run, Run, Run Till Daddy Takes Hanson Away...

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It's a nice cock, but at what cost?
It's a nice cock, but at what cost?
USA TODAY Sports

The most important thing to know about Sunday's starting pitcher, Tommy Hanson, is that he cannot stop base runners from stealing. He can't because no matter how much he throws to 1B and no matter how much he tries to shorten his leg kick, Hanson has a timing mechanism where he pauses, for what must seem like an eternity to his catcher, prior to throwing the pitch. This gives base stealers a free couple of steps before the pitch is thrown.

Because this happens after Hanson kicks the left leg, he cannot do anything to stop runners from taking advantage. And because apparently Hanson cannot pitch without this pause-mechanism, enabling base stealers to "run rampant" is just part of the package that comes with Tommy Hanson.

What this means for today's game is that if Coco Crisp or Josh Reddick, fast runners and good base stealers, get on they should be able to have their way on the bases. But what it also means is that runners who don't normally steal, but who have decent speed, can take liberties they wouldn't normally take. This would be players like Brandon Moss, Eric "TOOTBLAN" Sogard, and perhaps even Josh Donaldson.

This June 20th LA Times article has some good insights on the topic. As of this article, opposing base stealers were 14 of 15 against Hanson -- in 45.2 IP. That's about a successful steal every 3.1 IP with little risk. The mantra for Sunday's game should be, "Run early, run often."

This could become especially important if there is a trade-off for Hanson: That he pitches better with the pause in his motion at the expense of giving runners a leg up -- and then some -- on the stolen base. And it turns out, that's exactly the case. As documented by The Hardball Times, Hanson's fastball velocity is 4 MPH better (93 MPH vs. 89 MPH) when he uses the pause in his delivery.

So Pausey McHanson is a better pitcher, but can't control the running game for beans, with the pause. As the most interesting man in the world would say: "Run well, my friend."