White Sox right-handed pitching prospect Alec Hansen took the mound on Monday night for the Birmingham Barons, looking to pick up his first win in Double-A since being promoted there last season.
Hansen had a great opportunity to earn that first win on Monday night as he got plenty of run support, however, his time on the mound was cut short due to a high pitch count and he will have to earn that first win on another night, even though the Barons won this one by a score of 7-3.
Alec Hansen started the game by issuing a lead-off walk and that would continue to be a trend throughout his start. He did strand a runner in his first two innings, and got out of those innings via a strikeout. He was ahead in his counts during the first inning (minus the walk) and it looked like he was on his way to what could be an impressive outing.
Before Alec Hansen took the mound in the second inning, the Barons were already off to a 3-0 lead courtesy of a three-run home run by Ryan Cordell. The Smokies would fight back in the bottom half of the frame when P.J. Higgins took advantage of a fastball left over the heart of the plate and drove in a run to make it a 3-1 ballgame. This was the only hit Hansen surrendered on the night and was the only hard hit ball the Smokies had against him.
During the third inning is when Hansen’s pitch count started to soar and he started to lose command of his fastball. He walked the bases loaded and walked in a run, handing the Smokies their second run of the game. In between all of those walks, Alec Hansen racked up three more strikeouts to give him seven on the night.
The lack of command would continue to haunt Hansen, causing him to have an early exit after the fourth inning. He would go on to walk three more, two coming in a sequence of throwing eight consecutive balls outside of the strike zone. Alec Hansen would finish his night throwing 98 pitches, with 50 of them being strikes.
Final Line: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R/ER, 9 BB, 7 K.
There’s the possibility that Alec Hansen still might not be feeling like his normal self after coming back from a forearm injury that sidelined him during Spring Training. His pitches are great and when he’s able to control them, teams struggle against him and he generates a lot of swings and misses which we’ve seen plenty of in the past. It’s still too early to give up on him, especially with the success we saw in him last season. The potential is there, he just needs some time to work through his struggles.
Offensively, the Barons piled up 11 hits and had the lead throughout the entire game. Joel Booker and Luis Alexander Basabe were an effective 1-2 punch, with both reaching base three times and Booker driving in two runs on a double. The Barons also got production out of Zack Collins who had an RBI single and Matt Rose who added an RBI on a sacrifice fly. It didn’t take long for the Barons to gain the lead and once they did, they cruised through the rest of the night on their way to victory.
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