Category Archives: Aaron Harang

Reds make final weekend a winning weekend

[Box Score Saturday] [Box Score Sunday]

The Reds finished their regular season with a couple of really nice victories to arrive at a 91 wins and 71 losses. This was probably the final game of Aaron Harang’s Cincinnati Reds career. Harang threw two pretty decent innings for the team that had outgrown him. And this had to happen if the Reds were ever going to progress and evolve. It’s sad, but it’s not. They had to outgrow the days where Aaron Harang was their best pitcher. I like the gesture to give Harang the ball in the regular season finale in front of a 37,582 capacity crowd.

“I wanted to give him the ball today, for what he’s meant to the organization,” Baker said.

It’s a classy move by a classy manager. And the Reds played classy to close out their season.

Jay Bruce homered with the game tied at 2; the home run was a majestic blast to center field, and the follow through or ‘dismount’ as a friend of mine calls it was different than any I’ve ever seen with Bruce. It was a confident one. It’s pictured above. It was a power hitter’s dismount. Jay Bruce looks like a new ballplayer. He is the guy who we all were hoping he’d be. He finishes the season at .281, 25 home runs, 70 RBI. He OPS’d .846 while playing the best right field in all of baseball. When you consider those things and that he wasn’t able to hit much for six weeks; it’s a great season.

On Saturday the story was Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce. Bailey struck out a career high 10 in five innings. Jay Bruce homered twice to set a new career high of 24 home runs on the season (but as we said he wasn’t done there).

I listened to the post game last night on 700 WLW rather than watch NFL football. For one of the first times in my adult life the Reds aren’t packing up shop after game 162 and I; like so many of my fellow fans wasn’t ready to let go of the magic just yet.

This season was magical from start to finish and I can’t wait to see the next chapter written.

"Guy's a Douche."

I missed yesterday’s Labor Day showdown between the Rockies and Reds. I was enjoying my last day on the Jersey Shore; playing some golf, visiting the boardwalk, spending time with the Fiance’s family.

I was basically trying to stay as far away from the frustrating Reds as humanly possible. But that’s the problem with doing this for a living and with living to do this. You can’t get away from the shit.

So after the game was over–and yes I did sneak and look at the 10-5 final score on my phone–I got a few text messages from fellow Reds fans who are my buddies.

“I am so frustrated with these fucking guys right now.” — Craig

That’s understandable bro. We let them off the hook in St. Louis. If we didn’t then this division race was over. If Matt Holliday doesn’t hit that home run on Sunday, it’s all over right then. You know it and I know it.

On to the next text.

“Did you see the Redlegs game? I saw they lost 10-5. I figure that numb nuts (he meant Harang) had a hand in that and gave up more then his share.” — Tyler

My buddy was right. He’s long referred to our former “ace” (I’ve always said the guy was a strong #4 on a good team, but that ship has sailed) as ‘Harang the Ass’ because he pitches like an ass. Pretty simple.

The last batch of texts were the daily winners. They came from my friend Bobby. Bobby’s been a fan since the Crosley days. He coaches college soccer. He only texts once every month or so about our Reds, so I was surprised to get one, wait; make that two from him. And they were golden.

“How about fuckin’ Harang man? Son of a bitch couldn’t make Earlham’s rotation.”

I responded back with something to the effect of that I’ve seen enough of Harang and hope that was the last I see of him. I didn’t expect Bobby to respond but to my surprise, he brought a smile to my face with the simplicity of his return text. I hope he was drinking.

“Guy’s a douche.”

With that, I had a feeling that Aaron Harang’s Reds career was probably over. And I never did get to see it.

The Biggest Win in Cincinnati Baseball since 1999

Last night I went home and just tried to be with the moment. The Reds had came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat one of the best pitchers in the game. They came back and beat the 2-time reigning National League Champions. This was one of those moments that has some major staying power. It was a game that people will talk about for years. My friends and acquaintances who were present at the ball park are lucky people.
The summer is in that period non-baseball fans consider the ‘dog days’. We’re in the meat of the season. This wasn’t an April win. We’re now into July. We’re a month of baseball away from August–which is a crucial junction in the baseball season.
I just took yesterday and soaked it all in. Yesterday’s game was a game in which people from around the league–not just fans of the Reds–might have took notice and said to themself “there just might be something special going on in Cincinnati this year”.
It was the Reds 25th win in their last at-bat.
“We have a good time,” Bruce said. “We have a blast. We have a lot of guys here who now how to win and have won. It’s almost like when we do it – it’s always a delight and surprising – but it’s not like it’s a true shock because we’ve been there before and we’ve doing it since day one. We don’t feel like we’re ever out of it.”
I went home and watched 61* with a friend. I thought about our Reds. Our 2010 Reds. There’s a part in the movie where the Yankees skipper Ralph Houk talks about legends of the game actually being bigger then the game at some points. Can the Reds become one of those special stories? Will they have their place in history? Last night felt a little bit like those pennant races of my childhood. You know, 1990, 1995, 1999. Except back then we’d catch the score on the bottom line of channels like CNN and then head outside to play ball in the front yard until mom rang the dinner bell. And we didn’t have to work full-time. And we didn’t have bills to pay. The stresses of life weren’t so great.
But that’s the beautiful thing about a game like the Reds win yesterday. It takes you back to those carefree moments of your childhood. Those moments to when guys like Chris Sabo was a God. Or when Pokey Reese hit the 3-run home run in late-September 1999 off Ricky Bottalico to walk off against the Cardinals. I’m glad I got to experience yesterday as a Reds fan, as a baseball fan.
If the Reds don’t win another game this season, they’ve given us our fair share of high points. Yesterday’s afternoon affair was definitely the apex.

The Top 10 Reasons to Love the 2010 Reds

I didn’t write this, so I’m not going to pretend that I did. But it belongs on this blog. So here are 10 reasons to love this 2010 Reds team. I’ve got about a million more. I wish Dusty Baker had made his way into this list. Feel free to leave your own in the comments.

10. They’re red-a$$es. A quick look down the roster shows Rolen, Cabrera, Votto, Bruce, Nix, and Gomes all play the game hard and rarely have clean uniforms at the end of games. Might be more than that– I don’t know about Stubbs or Heisey. Might be the most red a$$es on one team since the St. Louis Gas House Gang.

9. The Reds own the ugliest pitching staff in baseball. Bronson Arroyo has a mullet and that weird pencil thin soul patch thing going on. Mike Leake looks like his younger brother. Johnny Cueto and Francisco Cordero are sporting those Amish chin beards so popular with… Amish men who can’t grow real beards. Sam LeCure looks like the love child of Moms Mabley and Foster Brooks. I’m pretty sure Danny Ray Herrera starred in Stand and Deliver. Logan Ondrusek looks like one half of a professional wrestling tag team and Nick Masset is his partner. And the ace of the All-Ugly Staff is Mr. Harangatang himself. Brutal.

8. Brandon Phillips is a joy to watch play in the field. He’s displayed the best range of his career and his arm is strong. Unquestionably the Gold Glove 2B in the National League. Besides, admit it– you like the little no-look shovel to short to start the 4-6-3, don’t you?

7. Bronson Arroyo’s leg kick looks oddly balletic. Every time my wife– a former dancer– sees him, she says something about how graceful he looks.

6. They don’t quit. Sure, you know all about the last at-bat wins. There’s more than that, though. It’s getting down early, but fighting back to take the lead like they did tonight. It’s getting swept in Seattle, then reeling off five (and counting?) wins in a row, sweeping Oakland and taking the first two against Clevelad. It’s getting beaten on a 9th inning dinger off Nix’s head, then coming back and dominating for a couple week stretch.

5. Logan Ondrusek and Danny Ray Herrera sit next to each other in the bullpen. If DRH sat on his lap, Ondrusek would look like a ventriloquist. THAT would be really cool to see.

4. Chris Heisey came from Messiah Bible College. Mike Leake played for the Arizona State Sun Devils. Both sides covered.

3. Arthur Rhodes has pants older than Mike Leake.

2. They’re avowed baseball rats. Joey Votto studies hitting. Jay Bruce takes extra BP. Scott Rolen takes extra BP– while games are going on. They show up early and stay late. They take infield with a purpose. Orlando Cabrera once got into a shouting match with a teammate over him standing too long while admiring his home run shot and disrespecting the game. What’s not to like there?

1. Easy answer– they’re in first place.

I have to say, I like the last reason the most. With the baseball rats being another HUGE reason.

Reds beat Stros 6-2 on strength of Hanigan & HARANG?

[Box Score]
Aaron Harang
Alright so I admit, I had the obligitory ‘Aaron Harang is fucking done’ post in the draft kitty fired up and ready to go. This was especially after he gave up another run in the first inning (whether it was scored earned or not). But as I noticed the night wore on, Harang had a little bit of giddy-up in his fastball. He was humping 92-93 MPH and he finished strong. Look, I’m not a believer that we need this guy to win like Dusty Baker said. He’s won 2 games now in his last 24 starts. They’re going to trot him out there as long as possible because they’re paying him a boatload of money. Any night that he doesn’t get hit lit like a menorah is a bonus to us all. Last night, he showed he’s got a little bit left on nights in which he can face shit lineups like Houston. He’s not the Aaron Harang of old and he is never going back to that form. That form was buried forever, Opening Day 2008. But sure, on a given night he can beat the lowly Astros.
Ryan Hanigan
How about this guy? He got two more hits and drove in three more runs to bring some totals to .483 and 10 RBI on the season. He plays less then roughly half of the time. He also is gunning out runners and really handling the pitching staff well. Anyone out there who has time to do some statwork for us: what is the ERA for pitchers when Hanigan is in the game and the ERA for pitchers when Ramon Hernandez is in the game?

We think Hanigan should be starting. He’s quickly growing into one of our favorite Reds players. Tough, quietly does his job, hits in the clutch. A singles machine. He’ll work the count to 3-2 and when it gets full the pitcher doesn’t want to walk the 8-hole guy, so they give Hanigan a fastball to do stuff with. He calmly singles a line drive into the outifield almost every time. Love how he moves the ball and turns the lineup over day after day.
Jay Bruce
Bruce is starting to have some success. The only difference is his line drives (now at 21.2% LD rate) are finding grass. That’s the only difference with all you bitching fans who were begging to send the kid down back a few weeks ago. If it weren’t for his 1 for 19 bull shit, bad luck start; he’d have All-Star numbers on the year and we’d be hearing from all you know-it-all Monday Morning QB sofa fans about how he’s the next superstar. Too many of you guys fly by the seat of your pants on guys, especially in Cincinnati. Look, Bruce is somewhere in between Larry Walker and a guy who should be sent down. He’s a really solid young player who’s finding his way. He’s the least of our worries. Pencil him in the lineup every single day, LH or RH and in the 5th spot and see what happens. He’s a ballplayer. In every sense of the word.
And how about another Gold Glove play out in right field last night? He is the best Right Fielder in the National League already, it’s a matter of time until the baseball writers of America start to rally on that point.
Two more hits, four more great at-bats, and two more runs. Keep it going Jay.
The batting order
It went Stubbs, Phillips, Votto, Rolen, Bruce, Cabrera, Gomes, Hanigan, Pitcher.
Now, that’s an improvement. It didn’t take a fucking genius to know that putting Votto and Rolen back to back in the lineup would product more runs. But why Stubbs and Phillips 1-2? Doesn’t make sense. Why is Gomes in there against a RH at .210ish with Dickerson on the bench? Why is Laynce Nix coming in late in the game to play LF defense and not C-Dick? Why isn’t Bruce hitting 2nd where he’d see more fastballs?
Why do we ask? It’s Dusty. He’ll never, ever change. He’ll always make head scratching moves.
About to go on a run
Look. I know this isn’t a world-beating team. But they’re going to have to have some spells where they play well this season. This is going to be one of them. They’ve won two in a row. They face righties the next two days. Granted, Roy Oswalt goes on Thursday so it’s less than likely that we win that game. But we also go into St. Louis where we face a few more righties; none of which are Carpenter or Wainwright I don’t believe (unless Carpenter goes on Sunday).
I think the Reds win 4 of the next 5 ballgames, making an overall run of 6 of 7. I think they come home and win two of three from the Mets. I think they go 8-2 over the next ten with a shot at 7-3 and suddenly everyone gets quiet again and from there what Dusty Baker does determines his extension he wants and determines what really happens in this season.
Any time the Reds are facing a RH pitcher, and I’m not talking an upper-tier right handed guy like a Carpenter or a Wainwright; but a RH who only brings average stuff to the park or just a hard fastball to the park; they usually get to that guy. Like this Paulino guy in Houston they face tonight, they should shit on him unless they get themselves out. Or like a Kyle Lohse. They usually shit on Kyle Lohse. If it’s not a lefty (and we mean any damn lefty) and it’s not an elite RH pitcher, the Reds usually get to the guy. That’s the rule of thumb with these Reds.

Opening Day in Cincinnati 2010

This was our 6th straight Opening Day in Cincinnati. On this beautiful 78 degree day, the greatest hitter of our lifetime would do what he does in other big league cities; destroy the other team’s Opening Day.

Albert Pujols was the story. He collected four hits, hitting every part of the ball park in seemingly every fashion. He homered long to left center in the first inning to kill the crowd after Aaron Harang struck out the first two hitters of the game. He homered to the opposite field in right center later in the game on a much different type of home run, a line drive that just kept going like a missile.

The things you have to take from this game (since it was a loss), are the small things that you come to the ballpark to see. Joey Votto got three hits and hit an opposite field home run that was extremely impressive. Votto got a couple of hits off Chris Carpenter and was clearly keyed up to be facing one of the best pitchers in the game. He looked focused and had good at-bats.
Logan Ondrusek made his Major League debut, throwing a scoreless 1-2-3 inning and touching the mid-90s on the gun. I am impressed by this kid and want to see more.

Above is the beautiful United States flag during the opening ceremony and national anthem. Like I said earlier, it was truly as beautiful of a day as you can ask for in the Midwest in early April.

Chris Carpenter again showed why he’s one of the best in the game. While he clearly didn’t have his best stuff, he had more then enough to get the Opening Day win. He is an absolute bulldog on the mound and won’t back down to any hitter in any count. He will challenge you and he also consistently was hitting the mid-90’s on the gun. Even if you’re a Reds fan, as a baseball fan this is what you should want to see on Opening Day; the best that another team has to offer and one of the finest arms from around baseball.

If only the Reds had a true ace to throw on Opening Day. It was Aaron Harang’s fourth straight start in an opener and he clearly will not make any more I wouldn’t think. Harang battled for sure but was laboring through hitter after hitter. He’s not an ace.

And of course, Jay Bruce. We love him, it’s no secret. He didn’t have a great day and some people were critical of him, as he struck out twice in big situations. He also did a few good things that the common fan wouldn’t notice. Jay had a really nice knock to center field off Carpenter, and beyond that he saw more pitches then any other hitter in the Reds lineup. If he can continue to make himself a tough out and work the count; he’ll not only earn a few more walks but he’ll have success in the near future. Hopefully this is the start of something great for Jay. We knew he was doomed in the at-bat against Dennys Reyes the former Reds lefty. I hate feeling like Jay is an automatic out against left-handers; I want to see him improve in this area of his game and have a fear that he won’t.

This was center field during batting practice when Albert Pujols was in the cage. Those white dots you see are shots he was spraying out to the center field area during his round. I knew then that it could be one of those days for Albert, and sure enough it was more then a gut feeling.

A lot of people say “well, there are 161 games to go” after a Reds loss on Opening Day. I’m so used to hearing that. I’m tired of hearing it. It feels second rate. The Reds have played in front of a sell-out crowd 46 times now since their stadium opened and they’re 20-26 in those games. These are games that you must send your packed house crowd out of the stadium excited and with the feeling that they can’t wait to come back and see the team play again. If you lose like the Reds so often do in front of a crucial crowd, you have a missed opportunity.

Someday, maybe it will be different. On this 2010 Opening Day, something was missing because the only thing I came to the park to see; us starting 1-0, was out of reach.

Don't feel bad Cincy, Albert Pujols does this to everyone

[Box Score]

Anyone watch the game last night? It was pretty textbook as far as two star players beating an entire team giving full effort. That two run home run that Albert Pujols hit off Aaron Harang was a line drive that went over 400 feet. There just aren’t many people in the history of the game that can hit like this guy. Oh yea, he added a double that was off the left field wall. I mean he hits screamers all over the park every night and he’s had a career against the Reds (now 37 big flies lifetime against Cincinnati).
Aaron Harang didn’t pitch all that badly. He made two mistakes all game to the best hitter on the planet all while fighting through control and mechanic problems for the entire night. He pitched pretty well. He gave the bullpen a night off. Against a lot of teams without the best player in the world and with a healthy lineup; Harang was good enough to win.
However, the Reds went up against a true ace once again. I mean, tell me another team in the big leagues that have had the face the pitchers this team has. It continues again tonight as Carlos Zambrano will be out there. But they’ve ran the gambit. Chris Carpenter is going to have one of his best seasons as a pro if he can stay healthy. The only scratch on him in this game was a solo home run to Laynce Nix that he surrendered late in the game. Nix is red hot (his 3rd home run in 5 at bats). Carpenter has now allowed 3 runs all season. That was his first home run allowed in 65 innings, the longest streak of his career.
The Reds earn the split with the Cardinals and wrap up the road trip 2-5. The past week was very frustrating. It was one giant missed opportunity. But at the same time you can’t get down on this team. They never quit. None of them. They return home tonight for three against the Cubs before heading to Washington and they’re still just 2 and 1/2 games out. It’s a long season. Any time you’re battling something, you’ll face adversity. You just have to keep running out there every day in life and giving it your all. It sounds cliche but that’s what you have to look at with this Reds club. They’re facing a lot of adversity, and I don’t have to go into exactly how many things right now are affecting this team. But they’re still fighting. That’s why you have to remain strong in their corner.

Cincinnati snaps losing streak with win over Moyer, Phils

[Reds 5, Phillies 1]
The Reds needed a win and they needed it to come against a left-handed pitcher in 46 year old Jamie Moyer, who made his big league debut before many in the Reds starting lineup had even been born. Like they’ve done so many times this season, they answered the bell.
The Reds built a 3-0 lead on a Brandon Phillips RBI single, a Ryan Hanigan home run, and a Jay Bruce RBI single. Aaron Harang was outstanding in 7 innings of work; allowing only 1 earned run (a home run to Raul Ibanez) and striking out 9 batters.
Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run triple in the 8th inning to give the Reds a 5-1 lead that would stand up. Our favorite moment of the game was probably of course when Jay Bruce got down in an at bat to Moyer 0-2, fouled off some 8 pitches hard down the right field line and then doubled. It would have scored Jerry Hairston from first base had he slid into home but he was gunned down trying to score from 1st base.
The win was not the only good news the Reds received on the day. All tests on Joey Votto appear to be negative, so him being out of the lineup at least doesn’t appear to be a serious matter. That means the Reds are only one big bat away from being a contender if he comes back healthy and not two. The Reds wrap up this series just after noon today and look to begin making it a successful homestand.

Big Blast from Bruce leads Reds to big saturday night victory

[Box Score]
The Cincinnati Reds won their third game in a row, jumping out to a 2-0 lead from a Jay Bruce 411 foot home run to right field off Kyle Lohse. The home run was a great at bat that Bruce started out 0-2, ran full in the count, fouled off a couple tough pitches and hit a homerun to the Sun Deck off an offspeed pitch.
From there the Cardinals would tie the game up at 2 with a home run from Ryan Ludwick, but the Reds would take the lead and never look back from big hits from Laynce Nix, Brandon Phillips, and starting pitcher Aaron Harng among others.
There will be a longer post about some things pertaining to the Reds and how they’re getting by without Joey Votto (he missed his own bobblehead day) right now after the conclusion of this series.

It was a fun saturday due to the Reds strong play and taking a series from a first place team who has enjoyed a lot of success against us in the past few years.

Harang hangs goose eggs on Easter sunday

[Box Score]
Brandon Phillips hit a 2-run home run in the first inning to give the Reds their only offensive output of the day, but the story was Aaron Harang.
Wearing their Red uniforms (sortive like Tiger Woods’ sunday red) the Reds frontline starter went 9 innings allowing only 3 base hits and striking out 9 with zero walks. This was as good as Harang has looked since the 2007 season, bar none. The guy was in control and ahead of hitters all day long. This is how an ace looks when he is on the hill. If Harang can continue this efficiency or anything close to it the Reds may really have something to look forward to this season.
It’s a good thing that Harang was lights out, because Pirates starter Ian Snell wasn’t far behind. Snell struck out Jay Bruce three times on the day. Bruce finally mustered a mercy single in his final at bat and is now just hitting .200 on the season. This is concerning. Anyone know any slump busters we could send Bruce’s way?
So the Reds close out their first homestand 2-3 with a rain out and head to Milwaukee tomorrow night to face Yovani Gallardo with Edison Volquez on the hill. It’s time to get rolling.

We Maintain, Aaron Harang is Not an Ace

Reds fans have defended long and hard that Aaron Harang is not only an ace, but one of the finest pitchers the Reds have had in the modern day era of baseball. He is forever immune from criticism and if indeed he does pitch poorly; it must be due to an outside factor of some type.
We have no problem being objective and telling the truth. Despite the fact that we like Harang, we don’t think he’s been throwing poorly because he’s hurt or because of the relief outing in the 18-inning San Diego fiasco. We just don’t think he’s an ace.

Harang is more suitable as a high end #2 starting pitcher in a rotation. We had all better hope that Edison Volquez is truly an ace because if he’s not, we still don’t have a true stopper or ace. Harang is now 2-9 on the season with a 4.31 ERA. Yesterday in the South Florida sun he gave up 11 hits and 7 earned runs in 5 and 1/3 innings. This included two rocket home runs to who else, Hanley Ramirez.

The Reds managed only 3 hits yesterday (none belonged to Jay Bruce and one actually came via a Corey Patterson home run). Ken Griffey Jr. is still stuck on 599 home runs. If he doesn’t homer tonight in Florida, Griffey will return home for the Reds longest homestand of the season so he can hit the 600th homer in front of the Cincinnati fans that could honestly care less about this milestone right now.
We’ll probably be at one game per series on the upcoming homestand, and while we’d like to see 600 for sentimental reasons, we’d like to see Griffey dressed in a different uniform much more for the health of the current ballclub.

Harang is a synonym for tantrum, you know

It couldn’t continue forever. Last night the Reds’ 9-game home winning streak was snapped, ending the longest of its type since Great American was opened in 2003. This was largely because Aaron Harang gave up 10 hits and 6 earned runs in 4 innings. He falls to 2-7 on the season. Let me add that this is a guy who many Reds fans will argue is the supposed ‘Ace’ of the staff.
To extend the point on Harang; I don’t think he’s an ace. I never have. Before I’m going to start calling him our stopper he is going to have to start stopping our losing streaks instead of stopping win streaks. I certainly hope that Edison Volquez is a true #1 that he appears as, because Harang to me is nothing more than a high end #2 in this league. Thus ends that.
Jay Bruce was slotted in his future perch, the 3-hole. He was hit by a pitch, he grounded out, and he lined out off Pirates closer Matt Capps. He will not get a hit in every game that he plays in in his career, it’s official. Still a new gloss on this team with him in the lineup.
Jerry Hairston (hitting .345) collected 2 hits an Brandon Phillips homered. The Reds didn’t have much offense to speak of, while the Pirates got home runs from Jason Bay and Xavier Nady. Does anyone realize what kind of season Nady is having? Didn’t this guy have lupis or some shit, left for dead at one point in his career?

Now we welcome the Braves, who I have always thought is a real shitty bunch. I’m tired of hearing about Chipper Jones’ .400 average and Bobby Cox. Hopefully we sweep them out of town, but even if we don’t at least we’re not gonna have to run into Brian Jordan.