As the days disappear toward the holiday season, the clock seems to be ticking on our memories of Pittsburgh Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan. The big right hander came to the Bucs from the Washington Nationals, found his devastating slider and the rest has been history. The Hammer has been a big lift to the spirits of Pirates fans during his time in the ‘Burgh.
As teams try and poke holes in Hanrahan’s accomplishments, we recall something different. Hit the music, dammit!
The Buccos closer never allowed more than nine hits in a month althought he did issue ten walks in the month of September, when the wheels had fallen completely off the Buccos bandwagon.
But looking at each of the other months showed a different story.
In August he walked five and allowed eight hits in 9.1 innings (five hits came in that awful game against the Cubs–his worst outing of the year.)
In July he walked six, struckout twelve and alowed just seven hits in 11.1 innings.
In June he pitched 11 innings gave up just six hits, walked four and struckout eleven.
In May he threw the most innings of the year going twelve and striking out fourteen against just five walks and nine hits.
In April he pitched seven innings, struckout ten, walked six and gave up just two hits.
Night after night, he was able to get the final out of games usually with swing and miss after swing and miss. At the end of May, we noticed some lights out stuff. In his final six one inning save opportunities, Hanrahan struckout two bad guys five times, in the other opportunity he had one whiff to bump his total strikeouts to 24 in his first 19.1 innings pitched. On May 31, he had 13 saves with nine of them coming in his dominant month of May.
Sure in 2012, the Hammer brought a new excitement to the ninth inning and on numerous occassions he found himself pitching out of self made jams. Some clubs are certainly pointing to his control throughout the season, but it’s important to note some things that remained consistent–he got that final out. It’s the most exciting thing that could possibly happen when the game is on the line and your favorite team has their closer on the mound.
Hanrahan takes that deep breath, he typically walks behind the mound, puts his right hand in his mouth, wipes it off on his hat and steps back up on the pitching rubber. What happens next sends Pirates fans through the roof and to their twitter account to hurriedly type #RAISEIT!
Hanrahan closes out games with impressive strikeouts. Let’s take a look back at a few of those whiffs, we will start with Ryan Hanigan:
Whiff! Prince Fielder, said “nice,” in the direction of the Hanranator before walking to the clubhouse a loser.
Whiff! No chance.
Whiff! Castro. Over.
Whiff! One for his Grandmother.
Whiff! Bow to the Dictator.
Put your head down when you bow.
HAMMER SAID…..HEAD. DOWN!
Hanrahan also had an impressive stretch of games from July 14 to August 8 when the Bucs were fighting for their lives. The Hammer posted ten saves in 9.2 innings pitched. He walked just three batters and struckout 18 batters. It was some dominant shit.
After August 8, Hanrahan had 33 saves. Iowa’s favorite son, tallied just three the rest of the season.
So we trust the Pirates brass sends along this post the next time a team starts saying Hanrahan’s value took a dive. When the games were on the line for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Hanrahan flat out got it done. The newest team to join the rumor mill is the Boston Red Sox.
We can understand why the Red Sox would want a stopper like Hanrahan. We also know that the Bucs would prefer not to shell out double digits in payroll for the backend of their bullpen. We just trust that if the Pirates should decide the team can get the last out of games without Hanrahan, the return matches the proven ability of an elite closer.