Is Hanson no longer the pitcher that went 42-27 to start his career?

It’s easy to see Tommy Hanson’s glass as half-empty.

Opponents are hitting for a .294 average against the Angels’ No. 5 starter, who has allowed 20 hits and six walks in 17 innings this season. He hasn’t pitched into the seventh inning in an Angels uniform, yet averaged 100 pitches in each of his three starts.

It doesn’t help that Hanson, along with Jason Vargas and Joe Blanton, combined for a 1-6 record with a 7.36 ERA entering Friday’s series opener with the Detroit Tigers. Even Hanson’s six shutout innings in Friday’s 8-1 win over Detroit could still be viewed through the glass half-empty. He did allow 10 of 28 batters to reach base.

“I didn’t like how I got myself into those jams,” Hanson said. “But I did get myself out of them. Either way, I’m planning on making 30 to 33 starts this season. So, good or bad, I’ve got to move on.”

Was Saturday’s start reason to see the glass as half-full?

Hanson is 2-1 with wins over Texas and Detroit, the two teams that have represented the American League in the World Series the last three seasons.

Despite an ugly outing against Houston, he has a 4.24 ERA. The 26-year-old’s career ERA is a very respectable 3.63 with the last half of 2012 representing the only sub-par stretch of his four-year career. After going 10-5 before the All-Star break last season, Hanson won just three of his last eight starts, posting a 5.69 ERA in the process.

Is it more likely that Hanson is the pitcher that went 42-27 his first three and a half seasons or the one that is 5-6 since? The sample size certainly supports the former and the Angels are hoping Friday’s start was further evidence.

“There were three of four key spots in that ball game… which could have changed the complexion of that game but (Hanson) made some pitches and we turned two double plays,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “To his credit, he kept battling and making pitches to a tough lineup and got through it.”

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