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Hancock Gets First MLB Win in Mariners Victory 

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The Mariners beat the Indians on Monday 5-4 behind a solid outing from their best pitching prospect. The young Emerson Hancock pitched 5.1 innings of three run ball in the win. 

Hancock made 3 starts in 2023, without featuring in a decision. In his fourth try, the Mariners got just enough offense behind him. 

Hancock started out well with a strikeout to Steven Kwan, a guy who is difficult to strike out. It took a nasty Change-up after getting up 0-2 to get Kwan. Kwan was the best hitter in limiting Whiffs in 2023 and close to the best in limiting strikeouts. The way Hancock put him away on 3 pitches was impressive. 

It was the only strikeout Hancock got in his outing and he got it against one of the most difficult hitters to strikeout. Funny how Baseball works sometimes. 

Three pitches later, Hancock got through the first on just six pitches. 

Hancock followed with a perfect second, getting some help from Julio Rodriguez in Center. Rodriguez made a tremendous play going back to rob Will Bennan of an extra basehit. It had an expected batting average of .580 and would have been out in 4 ballparks (Cubs, Angels, Dodgers and Nationals). 

After the Mariners scored four in the bottom of the second, highlighted by Canzone three run homerun. Hancock immediately gave up two in the top of the third. 

Hancock hit Laureano, which led to Dylan Moore getting ejected from the bench. Laureano seems like he swung but got hit on the hands. The delay didn’t help Hancock as he allowed two straight hits after the so called HBP to load the bases. 

Hancock allowed two runs to score on a force out and sac fly. After a Jose Ramirez hit, Hancock limited the damage getting Josh Naylor to ground out. 

In the fourth Hancock allowed a walk and hit Laureano again. He got out of the inning after another ground out. Hancock got a bit lucky, getting the second out on a lineout from Will Brennan, who hit the ball hard with a .840 Expected Batting Average. Another great play by Julio Rodriguez who went into the Left-Center Field gap to make a tremendous sliding catch! 

After a 1-2-3 fifth with another lineout with a high expected batting average (.800). Hancock was allowed to start the sixth. He got Josh Naylor to lineout to right before allowing a solo shot to end his outing. Tyler Freeman homered on Hancock his 81st pitch. A ball Julio just wasn’t able to catch after a leap. 

The homerun was out in just 5 ballparks (Reds, Guardians, Angels, Dodgers and Seattle), so a bit unlucky there. 
All things considered it was a solid outing for Hancock. He threw strikes as he threw 55 strikes in his 81 total pitches. Still, according to baseball savant, he was a bit lucky. His expected slash line against on his first outing was .344/.414/.512. That won’t cut it over a longer period and probably even out. 

But getting ahead in the count, working fast, helps your defense. Pitching to contact with good defense behind you, is something to applaud too. It’s good for a young pitcher to see him being able to throw strikes and trust his defense. 

Hancock will probably make his next start against the Blue Jays on Monday. Let’s see how he fares against a dangerous lineup and a hitters friendly ballpark in Toronto.

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