Let’s get something straight: Joel Hanrahan is not a bad pitcher. The guys has an All Star resume on a few less-than-stellar teams, is potentially the most fear-enducing player the Red Sox have had since Julian Tavarez, and, most importantly, he eats people alive.
(Note: Joel Hanrahan does not actually eat people alive. But with his bad-ass flavor savor and mean demeanor on the mound, some batters may prefer being eaten alive to being subjected to Joel’s mean slider and brick-breaking fastball.)
Due to this tendency, I’ve affectionately dubbed Joel Hanrahan “Hanrahannibal”
Congrats, new guy. You’ve earned yourself a nickname.
Apparently the Red Sox PR department is in a tizzy because the whole “cannibalism” thing is no longer cool and hurts your hamstrings.
(Second Note: I am not a Doctor. Technically. Third Note: I’m lying. I don’t know anyone in the Sox PR Department.)
If you’ve paid any attention to the Sox through the first two weeks, Hanrahannibal has looked more like Hanrahittable. Acquired in a 6-player trade with the Pirates this offseason, the closer has allowed six earned runs on six hits and five walks over his first 4 2/3 innings with the Sox. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we now have an explanation. According to Boston Herald writer Scott Lauber, Manager John Farrell explained that Hanrahan has been dealing with soreness in his right hamstring since his second outing of the season in New York against the Yankees.
“Hanrahan has been dealing with soreness in his right hamstring since his second appearance of the season in New York, Farrell revealed today. And although Farrell called the situation “manageable,” he also conceded that it appears to have affected Hanrahan’s mechanics, specifically the drive he has been able to generate with his legs.”
While an injury isn’t exactly the type of news Red Sox fans were hoping for given the string of detrimental injuries the team has sustained over the past several seasons, it at least provides an explanation as to why our new prized pitcher has struggled. Speculation was rising amongst Boston’s sports radio stations that Hanrahan’s troubles were due to inconsistent appearances on the mound, given that his former team, Pittsburgh, hardly needed a closer whilst losing game after game.
During Hanrahan’s struggles, his velocity has remained consistent, even hitting 100 mph on the radar gun, but his control has been the issue, walking batters and leaving meatballs for batters to demolish. Hanrahan imploded Wednesday night at Fenway, allowing 5 runs in the bottom of the ninth, the final four coming with 2 outs in the inning, despite twice having two strikes on the batter.
The hamstring explanation leaves a bit to be desired though. No one can factually prove or disprove a “sore hamstring,” and it’s a classic BS explanation by both teams and players to make excuses or sweep poor play under the rug. Could the Sox be protecting Hanrahan? It wouldn’t be unimaginable to see Hanrahan struggling with the early season pressure of Boston media and fans, despite the low expectations the team has coming into this season. More than likely we’ll never know, but for now we’ll have to take the word of the Manager and hope that Joel feels better soon.
The good news for the Sox is that former All-Star closer Andrew Bailey, acquired before the 2012 season before missing the majority of his 2012 campaign with a thumb injury on his throwing hand, has been brilliant in a set-up role for Hanrahan thus far and can step into the role for a few days while Hanrahan recovers. Farrell said Hanrahan is listed as day-to-day but will probably receive a few days of rest.