Without missing a beat, Groton’s Jesse Hahn returned from a brief stint in the minors Friday night (July 25th) to pitch the San Diego Padres to a 5-2 win over the Braves, before 31,647 at Atlanta’s Turner Field.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hahn is the only pitcher in Padres history to win his first four road starts. Brian Lawrence, who, like Hahn was also in his rookie year, won three in a row in 2001.
So far Jesse has beaten the Mets, Giants, Dodgers and Braves in their ballparks. “I don’t know what the difference is,” he told the Associated Press. “I approach every game the same. I didn’t even know I was pitching better on the road.
Rookie Road King
The media is starting to pick up on that fact, however. On its website, television station KTVU (Oakland, Calif.) gave him the title, Rookie Road King.
“It tells me a little bit about the heartbeat,” manager Bud Black said, after the Atlanta game. “This guy is pretty calm for a young player (and) I thought his stuff was very comparable to where it was a few weeks ago.”
Against Atlanta, Hahn worked six innings, permitted only three hits, struck out four and walked three. The lone run against him came in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly. Of his 88 pitches, 55 were strikes. His ERA went down to a remarkable 2.21.
To add further luster to his season, Jesse had an infield single, the second hit he has registered.
The Padres had sent him down to Triple-A El Paso after his last game on July 11th, when he limited the Dodgers to one run in six innings of a Padres victory at Los Angeles. That was just before the All-Star break.
At the time, Manager Black said that by “slowing Jesse down a little bit we can keep a handle on his innings. This will give his arm a little bit of a breather.”
He told U-T San Diego, “I literally didn’t pick up a ball for five days, so I took advantage of the rest. But I did make sure I would be ready.”
Ready he was. Apparently it was just what the doctor ordered. He now can boast of a 6-2 record with a team that is ten games under a .500 winning percentage.
He has become the “Precocious Rookie”
Their most recent confluence, then, has been a surprise. Jesse was a star pitcher in high school, on the same Fitch Falcons team in Groton with Matt Harvey of the Mets. Harvey has been inactive in 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. But last year he was the National League starter in the All-Star game.
The Padres are treating Hahn with a lot of TLC. Because of his own Tommy John surgery in 2011, he is expected to be limited to only about 40 more innings before he is shut down for the season.
In the past week, the Padres have been trading off some of their talent. They may not be going very far. But Jesse Hahn is well on his way. His rooters in Connecticut are impressed.
Among them is another major leaguer and that ex-teammate on the Fitch Falcons.