We’ve seen A’s pitcher Rich Harden as a star for a long time now, but it hasn’t happened. This morning, over in the land of the rising sun; he pitched like one.
Harden went 6 innings, allowing only 3 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 9 Red Sox hitters in a 5-1 Oakland victory.
“Rich showed tonight against the World [Series] champions how good he is and how much we need him,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “Tonight, he pitched the way we know he can, and we’re hoping to get 30-plus more of those.”
“My catcher, Kurt Suzuki, called a great game,” Harden said.
“[Harden] had an overpowering fastball,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona added. “When he even got in hitters’ counts, he threw his offspeed, his split. He kept us off-balance. That was a very explosive game that he pitched.”
The big blow for the A’s offensively was a 3-run homerun hit by Emil Brown to make the game 4-0. Manny Ramirez scored the only Boston run with a homerun, driving in his 5th run in two days.
This Harden kid really impresses me and I think he could be the next great one in the AL. I feel badly because he’s been a forgotten man, but when he came up I thought he’d be better than Hudson, Mulder, or Zito ever were. I think he’ll be that good.
“It did feel a little different pitching in Japan,” Harden said. “It felt almost like a playoff game. But you just got to treat it like any other start.”