Tag: Aaron Harang

San Diego Padres: Cold Bats Key to Slow Start

There’s no way around it or no easier way to put it.  A lack of offense has resulted in a lack of wins for the San Diego Padres.

It was a welcoming site when Will Venable singled up the middle to put a run on the board in the Padres’ 3-1 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies and Roy Halladay Sunday.  Halladay fanned 14, coming within one out of their third shutout of the Padres during a four-game sweep at PETCO Park.

The Padres have scored just three runs in their last 32 innings and besides scoring five runs in the second game of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, the Padres have scored just four runs in their past six games.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Padres (8-14) are last in the MLB in runs scored (62) and batting average (.214).

To put those numbers into perspective, the Cincinnati Reds have scored 114 runs and the St. Louis Cardinals lead MLB with a .295 team BA.

What is most frustrating about the inept offensive numbers is the production the club is getting out of the pitching staff—without a fully equipped Mat Latos.

In the midst of losing six of their last seven games, the Friars’ staff hasn’t allowed more than four runs in a single game.  On the season, their starting pitching ranks second with 15 quality starts and also have an MLB’s second-best team ERA (2.94).

A prime example of the Padres inefficiency at the plate is the curious case of Dustin Moseley and his 0-3 start.

Moseley has turned in four quality starts, an ERA (1.40) good enough for third best in MLB, but has a 0-3 record to show because the Padres have given him just one run in support.

Aaron Harang (1.87 ERA) has been just as good in his return to his hometown, with a win in each of his starts.  The only difference is the Padres have provided Harang with 19 runs.

The only every day starter batting above .300 is Nick Hundley (.309). As a result, Bud Black has been changing the batting order on his lineup card daily.

The most recent move was the flip-flop of Will Venable (.172) with Cameron Maybin (.260) at the top of the order.  

Besides Maybin and Hundley, no other Padre starter is batting above .250: Jason Bartlett (.242), Orlando Hudson (.229), Chase Headley (.227), Ryan Ludwick (.194). 

Jorge Cantu and Brad Hawpe, who platoon at first base, are batting .145 and 1.04, respectively. 

“We’ve got to keep working, and we’ve got to grind through this,” Padres manager Bud Black told MLB.com.   “We’ve got to keep doing our work in the cage and watching video. We have to keep working our [rear ends] off to get to where we need to be.”

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Rotation Preview: NL West, Mat Latos and San Diego Padres

In preparation of the 2011 MLB Fantasy Baseball season, The Fantasy Fix team will preview a team’s pitching rotation each day.

In this third National League West preview, Brett Talley examines Mat Latos and the San Diego Padres.

A quick look at the possible rotation of the 2011 San Diego Padres is pretty uninspiring, but thanks to the pitcher’s paradise that is Petco Park (alliteration!) several guys are worth a second look.

The most interesting name may be the newly acquired Aaron Harang.  While it is unlikely that Petco is going to bring back the 2005-2007 version of Harang (ERA in the high threes, 7-8 K/9, sub-1.30 WHIP), it could bring back the 2008-2009 version (ERA in the mid fours, 7.50ish K/9, 1.40 WHIP). 

At the very least, hopefully Petco will bring better than the 2010 version of Harang (5.32 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 6.61 K/9).  It would seem reasonable that the ballpark will bring his ERA back on the right side of five, but the K/9 and WHIP are something not aided by ballpark, and their improvement is solely up to Harang.  It might be worth a flier in an NL-only league to see if Harang has anything left.

Wade LeBlanc is kind of an uninspiring name despite being a former second round pick because he has never really had that “top prospect” status.  Even his numbers from his first season in the big leagues are fairly uninspiring: 8 wins (25 starts), 4.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 6.78 K/9. 

However, LeBlanc may have simply worn down in late August.  If you take out his final three starts (plus one late relief appearance) and look at the first 22 starts LeBlanc made, you get a 3.46 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and a 7.40 K/9. 

Assuming LeBlanc can develop in his second year and improve on his strikeout and walk rates, he could be a solid spot starter in mixed leagues (only when pitching at home, of course) and a reliable guy in NL-only leagues.

Clayton Richard is a more exciting name simply because he was a piece the Padres got back in exchange for sending Jake Peavy to Chicago.

 Continue Reading The Preview>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: 3 Pitchers Whose Move Will Boost Their Value

The team a pitcher plays for has a major role in how well the pitcher performs, especially on a fantasy baseball level. There are many examples of pitchers who thrived on one team; however, a switch to the American League exposed their weakness or their offense did not provide any support which limited the pitcher’s win total.

Javier Vazquez, for example, had a Cy Young-caliber year in Atlanta in 2009; however, in 2010, when he moved to New York, he was shelled by the much more dangerous American League East lineups. 

The park a pitcher plays in is the first, and arguably most influential way in which the team a pitcher plays for can affect one’s stats. In a hitters park such as the Padres’ Petco Park, a pitcher has a huge advantage over somebody pitching in the Rockies’ Coors Field. 

Another way that a pitcher’s team can influence his stats is the team’s offense. Pitching for the Red Sox or the Yankees is much more conducive to winning than pitching for the Mariners or Pirates. 

Finally, the team a pitcher is on affects the stats he puts up, because the team a pitcher plays on affects the offenses he has to pitch against. A classic example of this is the switch from the American League to the National League. Pitching against National League teams historically has led to more impressive statistics than pitching against American League teams. 

Let’s take a look at three pitchers who switched teams this offseason and examine how it is going to affect their production in 2011. 


Zack Greinke, 2010 Statistics: 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 181 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

The 2009 American League Cy Young winner struggled in a big way in 2010. A losing record and an ERA above four were not characteristics fantasy baseball owners were looking for when they drafted him 25.7 overall in ESPN standard leagues in 2010. Motivational issues and a poor surrounding cast were major issues for Greinke in 2010.

Will a change in scenery help Greinke restore his Cy Young potential?

In terms of ballparks, Greinke is actually moving to a more difficult park to pitch in. Miller Park (Brewers) is ranked sixth in ease of home run hitting, whereas Kaufman Stadium (Royals) ranks 19th. The two rank similarly in overall runs scored, though the difference in proneness of home runs could become a problem for Greinke. 

On the bright side, the switch to the National League Central should help Greinke’s production greatly. The average number of runs scored by American League Central teams in 2010 excluding the Royals was 732.5. That number for National League Central teams excluding the Brewers was 681.8. That’s a difference of .313 runs per game. Keep in mind though, these are not all the teams Greinke will be facing, they are just the teams in his division whom he will face most frequently. 

As for the offense Greinke will be playing with versus the one he left, he will again improve. While the Royals ranked 20th in runs scored with 676, the Brewers ranked 12th with 750, a difference of .457 runs per game. It’s not going to immediately turn Greinke into a win machine, but it will help his record a good deal. 

Overall, Greinke switch to the National League Central should be viewed as a good move, but it does not make him a Cy Young threat; to return to that level, he will have to improve his own pitching. 

2011 Zack Greinke Projections: 15-8, 3.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 186 Strikeouts, 0 Saves



Aaron Harang, 2010 Statistics: 6-7, 5.32 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 82 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

Harang could be a huge sleeper in 2010. He signed a one-year contract with the San Diego Padres this winter, and this subtle switch should have a huge impact on his production. In Cincinnatti, Harang had two elite seasons, 2006 and 2007, which he looks to reproduce in 2011. 

Let’s again begin with the switch in ballparks. Harang will be going from a relatively difficult pitchers’ park in the Great American Ball Park to one of the easiest in Petco Park. The Great American Ball Park ranked 12th in runs scored against and eighth in home runs against (where the lower the rank, the more difficult for pitchers). On the contrary, Petco Park ranked 26th in runs scored against and 22nd in home runs against. This is not a small difference, but it will certainly help Harang get his career back on track.

As for the difference in difficulty the teams he will be facing, he will face more difficult opponents, as National League West Teams excluding the Padres average .19 more runs per game than National League Central teams excluding the Padres. 

Another factor against Harang is that his team’s offense is significantly worse than it was in 2010. The Reds score .77 more runs per game than the Padres.

However, on the defensive side of the game, the Padres were actually better than the Reds in 2010. The Padres’ UZR was 50.0, while the Reds was 44.8. Both were good for top four in the majors, however every bit helps in the MLB. 

A final note about Harang is that his numbers were partially affected by the fact that he was injured during part of 2010, thus his win total and strikeout total are not reflective of his efficiency. 

Overall, Harang should see a much more productive season in 2011 than 2010. While his win percentage may not increase, the transition to Petco Park combined with the fact that Harang should come into 2011 more prepared after his down 2010 should boost Harang’s overall numbers. 

2011 Aaron Harang Projections: 10-10, 4.34 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 152 Strikeouts, 0 Saves



Matt Garza, 2010 Statistics: 15-10, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 150 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

Garza had a relatively productive 2010, especially if you take into account the difficulty in pitching against for an American League East team. 

Garza’s ERA against American League East teams in 2010 was 4.81, which is not surprising given that the Yankees and Red Sox were 1-2 in runs scored in 2010, with the Jays trailing not far behind. Moving to one of the weaker hitting divisions in the MLB should be a huge boost for Garza as the difference in runs scored by American League East teams versus National League Central teams per game was .41. 

Of course, the Rays were a much better hitting team than the Cubs, as they scored .73 more runs per game in 2010. Though, Rays power hitter Carlos Pena will be moving with Garza to the Cubs, which may boost the Cubs’ offense.

The only really significant downside of Garza’s move is the switch from the easiest pitchers’ park in the game to one of the hardest. Tropicana Field ranked 30th in runs scored against and 17th in home runs allowed, whereas Wrigley Field ranked third in runs scored against and ninth in home runs allowed. 

While this transition of ballparks in significant, it does not make up for the relief Garza will receive in leaving the American League East.

2011 Matt Garza Projections: 14-11, 3.77 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 172 Strikeouts, 0 Saves

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Fantasy Baseball Fallout: Winter Meetings Day 1: Jayson Werth, JJ Putz and More

While the Adrian Gonzalez trade has gotten all of the publicity (and rightfully so, as you can read my thoughts on the deal by clicking here), there was plenty of other moves on the first day of the Winter Meetings worth noting.  Let’s take a look at the fantasy fallout:

The Milwaukee Brewers acquired SP Shaun Marcum from the Toronto Blue Jays for 2B Brett Lawrie. 
I’m not sure if I’m more surprised by the fact that the Brewers seemed more than willing to trade their top prospect or how excited fantasy owners should be that Marcum is now out of the AL East.  Lawrie has a ton of potential with the bat, though there is some debate as to whether his glove will allow him to stick at 2B or not.  At Double-A in ‘10 he hit .285 with 8 HR, 63 RBI, 90 R and 30 SB in 554 AB and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make his major league debut in ‘11.

He figures to be featured on our Top 50 prospects (which will be released in early ‘11), but the question is which team he’ll be representing.  There have been rumblings that the Blue Jays acquired him simply to flip him in another deal (Zack Greinke perhaps), but time will tell.  To read my prospect report on Lawrie, click here

As for Marcum, he was solid in ‘10 after missing all of ‘09 due to injury.  In 195.1 innings he posted a 3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 165 K.  He has a career BB/9 of 2.80, yet was significantly better than that, posting a 1.98 mark.  It’s possible that moving to the NL will bring an increase in his strikeouts, which were already solid (7.60 K/9 and reaching 8.0 would not be a major surprise).  In the toughest division in baseball he posted solid numbers with realistic peripherals (.289 BABIP, 74.3% strand rate).  Moving to the NL, his value certainly improves.  He’s not going to be an ace, but he should definitely be thought of us a good buy as a middle of the rotation option.

The Washington Nationals signed OF Jayson Werth.
Not only was the destination a surprise, but the scope of the contract was as well.  A seven-year, $126 million dollar deal certainly took many off guard, but we can debate if he’s worth the money later on.  Right now, what we are most concerned with is if he will produce in 2011 or not.

He has shown good power the last three seasons, but 50 of his 87 HR came at home.  He’s likely to hit 20-24 HR, but that may be his upper limit now.  He also has some speed, but you talking about a player who has never exceeded 20 in a season in the major leagues.  He’ll chip in 85+ R and RBI, but the bottom line is that he is looking like a low-level OF2, at best, now that he’s landed in Washington.

The Baltimore Orioles acquired 3B Mark Reynolds from the Arizona Diamondbacks for P David Hernandez and P Kam Mickolio.
Hernandez & Mickolio figure to be middle relievers for the Diamondbacks and have little fantasy appeal at this point.  As for Reynolds, we all know that he is going to give some power, but the strikeouts have gotten to a ridiculous level.  In 2010 he posted strikeout rate of 42.3%, the fourth consecutive season it has increased.  Could it get any higher moving to the AL East?  You would certainly hope not, but I guess one never knows.  His value isn’t going to change by the move, however.  He remains a source of power and nothing else, meaning he’s a low-end option, even at a shallow position.

The Diamondbacks signed 3B Melvin Mora.
It didn’t take them long to try and find a replacement for Reynolds, but it is hard to imagine the 38-year old getting everyday AB.  He was used as a utility player for the Rockies in ‘10, hitting .285 with 7 HR and 2 SB in 316 AB.  Even if he does play every day, he just doesn’t bring enough to the table at this point in his career.

The Diamondbacks signed P J.J. Putz.
The Diamondbacks bullpen was horrendous in 2010 and signing Putz goes a long way in improving things.  He should be the stabilizing force at the back end as he returns to closing duties.  It’s easy to look at the terrible season he posted in a setup role for the Mets in ‘09 (5.22 ERA, 5.83 K/9), but he rebounded in a big way last season.  The strikeouts returned (10.83 K/9).  His control, which was pathetic in ‘09 (5.83 BB/9), came back as he posted a 2.50 mark (in ‘06 & ‘07 he posted walk rates below 2.00).  Maybe it was the injury he suffered in ‘08 still rearing its head, but at this point I’d feel confident that he was back on track.  Is he going to be an elite closer?  Probably not, but he certainly should be a solid mid-level option.

The Pirates signed P Kevin Correia.
In 2010 his control, which we thought may have improved in 2009 (2.91 BB/9), regressed back to around his career mark with a 3.97 mark.  He struggled with home runs (1.24 HR/9), despite calling Petco Park home.  He posted a K/9 of 7.14, though over his career he has been all over the map (career K/9 of 6.63).  Yes, you can say his 5.40 ERA was due to a 68.4% strand rate, but he just wasn’t that good regardless.  Now on the Pirates, he should be left as waiver wire fodder.

The Padres signed P Aaron Harang.
Can he rediscover what made him a very good fantasy option?  If he is healthy, it certainly could happen.  He has a career HR/FB of 11.0%, but you have to think getting out of Great American Ballpark will help him improve there.  He also suffered from a .346 BABIP and 69.4% strand rate in 2010.  He has good control (2.52 career BB/9) and strikeout upside (7.47 K/9 or better from 2006-2009).  He’s certainly worth taking a flier late in your draft in all deeper formats.  If you are in a shallower league, monitor him closely and be ready to pounce.

What are your thoughts on these moves?  Who is the biggest winner?  Who are you now targeting?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


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Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Weekend Series Preview

No doubt the majority of Pittsburghers have moved on from the Pirates for the year, and many Reds fans are getting psyched for the Bengals on Sunday, but there is very important business to take care of this weekend at Great American Ballpark.

The Reds return home licking their wounds from the horrific 1-6 road trip, one in which they showed a great deal of lethargy and fatigue.

The outfield injuries are starting to catch up, I’m not convinced Brandon Phillips is back to being 100 percent, the starting pitching, outside of Travis Wood, has been a major letdown, and some guys, such as Scott Rolen, are looking very tired.

Additionally, the Reds added fuel to the fire when it comes to how they are perceived.

Myself and others on here have spent time trying to convince others that the Reds are something more than just a team that beats up on the weak, and folds against winning teams, but recent events have strengthened their stance, and left some of us wondering about our own feelings.

Time to move on, though, and it’s time to take care of business against the worst team in Major League Baseball record wise, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Anything less than taking two out of three from those guys would be major cause for concern, and though we have fared well against that sort of competition all year, I hope our guys aren’t getting tight out there.

Friday’s pitching matchup will put Homer Bailey up against Paul Maholm.  Bailey has put together some of his best performances against Pittsburgh, going 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his career, so this may be the team that can help get the inconsistent righty going.

Maholm has fared well against Cincinnati in his career, going 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA, but is having a rough season overall, as he currently sits with a 7-14 record and a 5.43 ERA.

On Saturday, the struggling Aaron Harang (6-7, 5.15 ERA) goes against Charlie Morton, who had had a rough year as well, as he sports a 1-11 record with a 9.66 ERA.

Pittsburgh fans I’ve talked to tell me that Morton has electric stuff, but he has yet to put it all together.

Sunday afternoon in the series finale, the Pirates will send out Brian Burres (3-3, 5.75 ERA) against Johnny Cueto (12-5, 3.45 ERA).

The Pirates have a young nucleus with guys like Pedro Alvarez, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, and Jose Tabata leading the charge.

Alvarez is batting .381 in his last six games, and Tabata is batting .343 since the All-Star break.

If Pittsburgh can hang on to all these players, and they continue to grow and develop, perhaps down the road, the city will once again experience some winning baseball.

Hopefully, the Reds don’t get a glimpse of that potential this weekend.  

It’s football season, and the Bearcats, Buckeyes, and Bengals are going, but those things can wait, as September baseball is getting really important around these parts.

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Cincinnati Reds: Is It Time To Harang ’em Up?

Aaron Harang has not been the “ace” of the Reds starting rotation for a long time. He has still been considered a key part of the pitching staff and a valuable veteran presence in the clubhouse. However, his ineffectiveness over the last couple of seasons may have finally reached its peak yesterday against the Rockies.

After the Reds jumped to a 4-0 lead early, Harang gave the lead right back. He failed to get out of the third inning, lasting just 2 1/3 while giving up four hits and four runs. He also walked three batters, including the opposing pitcher.

Since coming off the disabled list, Harang has given up five runs on 12 hits and six walks in just 6 1/3 innings. Harang did not pitch well during his rehab assignment in the minors, either.

So, what do the Reds do with Harang? Dusty Baker said a decision will have to be made sooner than later.

“Yeah, pretty soon,” Baker said. “We’ll discuss things and see. We can’t have these short outings. That puts pressure on my bullpen for the ensuing days after that.”

I got a chance to meet Aaron Harang earlier this season and he could not have been nicer. He has donated a lot of time and money to various charitable organizations. The media has always described him as a stand-up guy who will be honest and never duck a question, even after a bad outing.

This is the sad, but unavoidable aspect of professional sports. Fans can be passionate about a team or player without consequence. Decision-makers (managers, general managers, etc.) have to be able to separate the person from the player.

The Reds are in a pennant race. They cannot afford to allow Harang to make another start.

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Cincinnati Reds: West Coast May Swing Fortunes of the Team

The true test is here. The time to find out if the Cincinnati Reds are playoff material has arrived in the form of a nine-game West Coast pow-wow.
Recent history suggests the Reds are screwed. Over the last five seasons, the Reds have a 16-35 (.314) record on the Left Coast.
In ’06 they were tied for first before embarking on a 10-game stretch in the West Coast. A 2-8 trip later, they were six games behind and the season was essentially finished.
The time change will always screw up anybody flying from the East to the West—whether you’re playing a sport or filing TPS reports. But it’s not like every team struggles so mightily in the Pacific Time zone.
The good news is that only three players have endured this embarrassing slide. Brandon Phillips, Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang have been through it all.
Maybe the young guys have no idea about the poor West Coast play. There is also a greater veteran presence with players like Scott Rolen, Arthur Rhodes, and Orlando Cabrera who have been there before. This is also a team that hasn’t lost more than five straight all season and that was in April.
The trip will start in Arizona to play the lowly Diamondbacks. They swept them at Chase Field last season, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Key word is shouldn’t. I’ll predict a series victory, as the Reds win two of three.
Then it’s off to L.A. Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine has treated the Reds like a punching bag. The Reds are an embarrassing 0-12 in the past four years in L.A.
Why is that? Are the Reds distracted by the tasty Dodger Dog? Does the late-arriving crowd divert them?

Sure, the Dodgers have been a superior team over the past four years, but it is absurd to say that Brandon Claussen is the last pitcher from the Reds to beat the Dodgers in L.A. It’s a quirky streak that needs to end in ’10.
So I will go out on the limb and predict that the Reds will take a game against the fading Dodgers.
The trip finishes with a visit to San Francisco. The final game is a 12:35 local start and the ninth game in nine days for the Redlegs. Needless to say I don’t expect a win in get-away day. So let’s say the Reds take one of the three against the Giants.
Add it all up and I see a 4-5 trip. Low expectations, eh? Considering the recent history of this team on the road, most fans would be satisfied with that mark. Tread water on the infamous West Coast swing and go home and continue to beat up on the N.L. Central dregs.
It’s a major hump the Reds need to leap over, and getting past this stretch, while keeping up the pace with the Cards, will go a long way in the Reds playoff aspirations.

It’s gut check time in Cincinnati as the dog days of summer roll on.

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Cincinnati Reds Turn Series Around To Beat San Francisco Giants, 6-3

The Cincinnati Reds were able to turn around their four-game series against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday night with a 6-3 win.

So, after losing twice to the Giants earlier in the week, what changed in this game that allowed the Reds to win?

For starters, the Reds did a much better job manufacturing runs. That’s the obvious difference shown by the final score. The six runs they scored were the most they’ve tallied in a game thus far in the series.

The Reds also did a better job of batting, and giving themselves an opportunity to score the runs they did.

This includes Drew Stubbs’ home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Jonny Gomes’ hit that scored two runs for the Reds in the seventh.

In addition to batting well, the Reds also received an amazing pitching performance out of starter Aaron Harang.

Harang tossed seven strong innings and fanned three. His solid pitching helped the Reds prevent the Giants from scoring more than their three runs.

On top of batting and pitching well, the Reds also did a decent job on defense. This stellar teamwork contributed to the Reds’ success.

One of the stronger infielders for the Reds was shortstop Orlando Cabrera. He played error-free ball, and had several song throws to the bases.

The Reds have had a rough start to the four-game series against the Giants.

If they play today’s final game against the Giants they way they played Wednesday night, they have a good shot at coming away with the series split.

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Five Roster Moves the Reds Should Consider to Stay in First Place

With the Reds in first place of the NL Central near the end of May, hope is back in Cincy. The only problem is that the Reds may be playing the best baseball they’ve played in years, but they are not the most complete team in the division. These 5 roster moves, in my opinion, are needed to make the Redlegs a better team. By trading away, trading for, or moving certain players into different spots, it would make the team better defensively, offensively, and chemistry wise. Otherwise known as….a complete team. Enjoy!

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Cincinnati Reds Starting Pitchers: Getting It Done—Really Done

Entering the 2010 baseball season, the Cincinnati Reds and their fans had lofty expectation for the starting staff. Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Aaron Harang, and Mike Leake have gone way above and beyond those expectations since, on April 24, manager Dusty Baker went “Bull Durham” on the entire team.

Yesterday Craig Simpson wrote an article titled, “Dusty Baker Goes Bull Durham, Cincinnati Reds Respond.”  Simpson explained that Baker chastised his team for it’s lackadaisical play.

The old curiosity peaked and an investigation was in order.  

Knowing that the starters were pitching better than they were at the beginning of their dismal excuse for a season, a team of experts was sent to delve deeper.

The findings are mind blowing.

Collectively, over the last 21 games, the starters are 12-3, with an ERA of 3.11, and a 1.11 WHIP.

The “quality start” stat used to be looked at as a joke. In recent years, it has become a pretty decent indicator of a staff’s success, or lack thereof. In their last 21 games Reds’ starters have amassed 15 quality starts. Boys and girls, that’s a 71 percent clip.

From April 25 until yesterday, May 18, their ERA has dropped almost two full points—from 6.49 to a 4.55 spot.

Before the meeting only one starter, Leake, had an ERA under four.

Small sample sizes, yes. Bailey is the only guy with five starts—all others have four. 

However, since the meeting Arroyo’s ERA has dropped 2.65 points, Bailey’s 2.26 points, Cueto is down from 5.33 to 3.67 (a difference of 1.66 points), Harang has seen his dip 2.29 points, and even Leake now sports a 3.09 ERA, 0.83 points better than before. 

WHIPs since Dusty went Durham: Cueto 0.88, Leake 0.92, Arroyo 1.14, Bailey 1.16, with his 1.37 WHIP, Harang is looking like the chump of the bunch. But his ERA during the run is 4.01—very respectable. 

The Reds have played 12 home games and nine away. 

Great American Ball Park is a notorious home run stadium—that’s putting it kindly.

During the three-plus week stretch the staff is letting only 1.03 balls leave the yard per nine innings.

The numbers go on-and-on: a 7.6 K/9 ratio, while allowing only 2.27 batters to reach via walk per nine. 

How are they doing it?

Throw strikes, baby…Throw strikes! Getting ahead in counts while making hitters work down in the count allows the starter to work deeper into the ballgames.

In 19 of the last 21 games, the starting pitcher has thrown at least six full. Just once during the span has a starter been removed before completing five innings, and only once more before the pitching six full.  

So Dusty must be abusing his starters again, right? Nope. Well, maybe.

Twice Baker has allowed a starter to throw more than 120 pitches. Both Bailey and Harang threw 121 in a start.

Cueto has thrown 113 and 118—that may be a bit distressing. He also needed 102 in his complete game, one-hit shutout. 

Rubber-armed Arroyo has pitched 100-plus (never hitting 110) in three of his four starts. 

Rookie sensation, Mike Leake, has been allowed over the 100-mark in just one of his last four starts.

Besides Dusty’s Durham speech, much of the credit must be given to first-year pitching coach, Bryan Price. 

Price has twice been named the Major League’s Pitching Coach of the Year—once with Seattle by USA Today Baseball Weekly, and again in Arizona by Baseball America.

No doubt, it has been a promising three-week run for the Cincy starters. 

One that has The Queen City and it’s surrounding regions all ready buzzing with a long forgotten playoff vibe. 






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