Results tagged ‘ Aaron Harang ’

Rough series for rotation

Why do I have a feeling that the Reds’ faithful will be vocal and outspoken for change if Aroldis Chapman has a great start on Friday for Louisville?

After a nice first week, it’s been a lousy second week for the current five members of the Reds rotation. The starting five’s ERA was 3.11 when the road trip began on Monday and is now at 5.43 after Aaron Harang was rock-and-rolled for eight runs in four innings and a 10-2 loss.

This is the series that was for the starters:

Cueto — 5 IP, 4 ER (0-0, 4.91 in two starts)
Arroyo — 6 IP, 5 ER (0-0, 3.86 in two starts
Bailey — 5.1 IP, 5 ER (0-1, 6.97 in two starts)
Harang — 4+ IP, 8 ER (0-2, 7.88 in three starts)

“That’s four days in a row I had to go to the bullpen early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We need some quality innings so we don’t kill those guys.”

The only good news is the Reds got a four-game series split after those starts. The bad news is they won the first two games and could have won the series.

With the Astros win for Bud Norris today, the Reds rotation became the lone group without a victory in the big leagues this season.

For only his second pro/big league start on Friday in Pittsburgh, Mike Leake suddenly is needed to be a stopper of sorts. He will be leaned on more than would normally be liked to go deep and provide some innings.

Do you think Leake can do it?

And will Chapman’s outing, if successful, speed up the clock for a promotion?

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Game 2, Reds vs. Cardinals

Here is the Reds lineup for Wednesday night.

Stubbs 8
Cabrera 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Bruce 9
Gomes 7
Hernandez 2
Cueto 1

Some notes:

There was some questions raised by Chris Carpenter after Monday’s opener about the slickness of the baseballs he pitched with. Like John Smoltz did last season with St. Louis, Carpenter did not like the way the mud was applied to the balls.

“I don’t know if they do it on purpose, intentionally or unintentionally,” Carpenter said. “It’s no big deal. I understand [Reds starter] Aaron Harang is throwing the same baseballs. If they’re not doing it intentionally, they need to take a look at it. If they are doing it intentionally, it’s unprofessional.”

When asked on Wednesday, Harang said this:

“I think more what it is – sometimes they have a little chalky feel to them,” Harang said. “The chalk will build up and sit on the ball if they’ve been sitting there for a little bit. You just wipe it off.”

“They’re the only ones [that complain]. It’s not like that for anybody else. Maybe it’s a bad batch.”

Balls are mudded up for both teams by the same person — the attendant in the umpire’s locker room. They are inspected before the game by the umpires.

*Johnny Cueto complained about a stiff back after his last spring start. It appears not be an issue anymore heading into Wednesday’s regular season debut.

“If the trainer doesn’t say anything and Johnny said nothing, it must be nothing,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

*The Reds are holding a game 2 “Opening Night” and have the TV broadcast team and grounds crew wearing tuxedos. There is also live music between innings, a meet and greet with players in the Fan Zone before the game and full team introductions and a F-16 flyover during pregame ceremonies. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan is throwing a ceremonial first pitch. Postgame, a fireworks shows was planned.

*The expected attendance was 28,000 before the game. From the Reds, here is a list of the past second games of the season. Usually there is a big drop off from the Opening Day sellout, which is a bummer. Game 2 counts the same as Game 1.

1997- 20,210 vs. Rockies
1998- 13,706 vs. Padres
1999- 17,310 vs. Giants
2000- 16,761 vs. Brewers
2001- 20,784 vs. Braves
2002- 19,745 vs. Cubs
2003- 26,096 vs. Pirates
2004- 26.204 vs. Cubs
2005- 22,301 vs. Mets
2006- 27,287 vs. Cubs
2007- 25,965 vs. Cubs
2008- 14,016 vs. Dbacks
2009- 13,568 vs. Mets

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

What to make of spring numbers?

Often during lulls in spring games, press box conversations often drift into unlikely directions. Today was no different with topics of Carrot Top, Gallagher, Matt Stair’s new slim figure, Jamie Ramsey’s “nickel and dime” blog and other oddities popping up.

During the lengthy Tuesday game, lost by the Reds to the Padres by a 7-5 score, the press box conversation actually fell back into a good baseball topic. What can be made of some of these spring results by the Reds?

After today’s outing, Aaron Harang has a 9.88 ERA and had lousy-looking lines in his last two starts. Jared Burton has a 5.63 ERA and a team-high four home runs allowed, including one on Tuesday. Aaron Miles, coming off of a bad 2009 season, is batting a paltry .143 while regulars like Brandon Phillips (.125) and Orlando Cabrera (.175) are struggling.

When do we stop saying “it’s just spring” and start worrying — if at all? 

Keep these 2009 statisitics in mind:

Francisco Cordero had a 12.10 ERA in spring. He saved 39 in the regular season with a 2.16 ERA.

Arthur Rhodes had a 5.63 ERA in spring and 2.66 ERA in regular season.

Bronson Arroyo had a 5.95 ERA in spring and a 3.84 ERA in the season with 15 wins.

On the flip side…

Micah Owings was lights out with a 1.52 ERA in spring and had a terrible season (7-12, 5.34).

OF Darnell McDonald batted .300 in camp to make the team and was sent out by May.

Jay Bruce had a nice spring with a .300 average and batted .223 when the games counted.

Do Burton’s numbers mean he’s no longer a roster lock, especially with Logan Ondrusek looking great and throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings? Is Harang headed for another tough year?

They say numbers don’t lie, but in spring, they don’t always tell the truth either. That’s why I try not to make a lot out of anything based on spring stats, unless it’s a position battle between two guys without much of a track record (ie: Stubbs and Dickerson for center field).  

When it came to Harang, Dusty Baker was not worried.

“I definitely look beyond [the spring numbers],” Baker said. “He’s throwing the ball with better velocity and coming inside, and using his legs. If you don’t get the results, you have to find some positives in there. The positive is he’s throwing the ball good.”

*Baker will be in Las Vegas with the Reds for their evening split-squad game on Wednesday night. The club was scheduled to fly out on Tuesday night. That means bench coach Chris Speier will manage the Wednesday afternoon game vs. the A’s in Phoenix. Pitching coach Bryan Price will be at both games because he wants to watch both fifth starter contenders, Mike Leake and Travis Wood, make starts. Price will fly to Las Vegas right after the A’s game.

*There were six errors committed during the sloppy game. Drew Sutton’s two at shortstop probably did not help his cause for the last couple of bench spots.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Nice start for Bruce

The Reds aren’t off to a crisp spring start with a 1-3 record following Tuesday’s 10-4 loss to the Diamondbacks.

That can’t be said about Jay Bruce. Serving as the DH in the game, he was 2-for-3 with a solo home run to right field. Bruce, who struggled mightily last season, is 5-for-9 (.556) overall.

“That’s why we’re trying to get him as many at-bats as we can so he can have a good start,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “We’re going to try and play him quite a bit.”

Other notes:

*Opening Day starter Aaron Harang gave up three earned runs and four hits over 1 1/3 innings with one walk and two strikeouts. He was scheduled to work three innings but reached his pitch limit of 50 too quickly.

“There’s still some fine tuning of stuff from the way I’ve pitched for so long and to mechanically make some adjustments,” Harang said. “It’s not going to work overnight. I still have stuff to work on but that’s what spring is for. The ball felt like it was coming out free and easy and I was just missing. It’s still a long spring. The biggest thing is just building up the pitch count right now.”

* Fifth starter contender Matt Maloney did not help his own cause. Maloney gave up four earned runs and four hits in two-thirds of an inning, including Upton’s two-run home run in the fifth. This was the opposite of his stellar 1 2/3 scorless innings Maloney had on Friday.

“He was a little up today,” Baker said. “He wasn’t quite as sharp as he was the other day. He was at the top of the zone. He can’t pitch there. He has to keep the ball down, especially on a day like today when the wind is blowing out.”

*The Reds and Indians have scheduled a ‘B’ game for Sunday at 10am local time at the Reds complex practice field. Harang will start that game.

*Game time temperature was 60 degrees but felt colder with a stiff wind. At the same time, it was 65 degrees back in Cincinnati.

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Intrasquad game notes

The Reds intrasquad game was a five-inning affair, won by the home team by a 4-2 score. The home squad starting lineup were mostly regulars.

For a roundup on Aroldis Chapman’s one inning of relief, click here.

Other items of note:

*Visiting team starter Aaron Harang struck out four over 2 1/3 innings. On a fastball away, Harang gave up a home run to right field to Ramon Hernandez.

“Hey, you’ve got to look out for your catcher and get his confidence level up,” Harang joked. “Mechanically, I’m getting right where I want to be.”

*Pitching coach Bryan Price was pleased with all of his pitchers. Homer Bailey, Chapman, Logan Ondrusek and Enerio Del Rosario were among the other pitchers.

“I was happy,” Price said. “From the beginning of spring training, you could tell guys came in shape – good throwing and body an cardiovascular shape. It was evident today. Guys were crisp with strikes, guys were down in the zone and had a pretty good feel for their off-speed stuff.”

*The game was treated as a dry run for the team ahead of Friday’s Cactus League opener vs. the Indians. It was the first time the Reds played a game inside their new home at Goodyear Ballpark.

“This is a beautiful ballpark,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I think it plays smaller than the dimensions. It’s not even hot yet. That sun is going to be a factor. We’re still trying to learn the ballpark.”

*Injury notes –

Todd Frazier has a bruised right quadriceps after being hit on the leg by a Chapman pitch. I was sitting behind home plate when Frazier was nailed by a 95 mph heater. It looked super painful.

Infielder Aaron Miles suffered a fracture on the tip of his right middle finger on Tuesday while fielding ground balls. The injury wasn’t considered serious. Once the swelling goes down, Miles can resume playing.

*Lineups are already out for Friday’s game:

Indians

Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Grady Sizemore  CF
Shin-Soo Choo   RF
Travis Hafner    DH
Jhonny Peralta  3B
Jordan Brown    LF
Andy Marte      1B
Luis Valbuena   2B
Lou Marson   C

Justin Masterson  P

Reds

Drew Stubbs CF
Orlando Cabrera SS
Joey Votto 1B
Brandon Phillips 2B
Scott Rolen  3B
Jay Bruce  RF
Jonny Gomes  LF
Ramon Hernandez  C
Lance Nix DH

Mike Lincoln P

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Harang for Opening Day

The Reds Opening Day starter on April 5 vs. the Cardinals will be ….

Aaron Harang.

“I know it probably won’t be a popular decision,” manager Dusty Baker said.

In past years, it would be a slam dunk. But there was a lot of back and forth and debate.

The decision was made after consulting with pitching coach Bryan Price and Bronson Arroyo and Harang.

“Me and Bryan sat down and talked and we wrestled with it big time,” Baker said. “I talked to Arroyo and Harang. Some of the mannerisms and things I came away with is that Harang is No. 1 for what we need, confidence wise. He’s throwing the ball great.”

Ultimately, the decision came dow to Arroyo not wanting the assignment and Harang did.

“I said if it’s out there, I want the ball. I want to be your guy,” Harang said he told Baker. “[Bronson and I] both talked about it before we even went in there. I wasn’t over there trying to make him feel different. 

“Do I think Bronson deserves to start Opening Day? Yeah, definitely for what he’s shown the past couple of years.”

“If I had my choice, I’d rather pitch two or three,” Arroyo said. “Cincinnati is one of the few places that Opening Day is really like a holiday. For that reason, it’s probably a little tough to concentrate on that day. There’s so much stuff going on. I’d rather enjoy that day, soak in all the festivities and pitch the next day or day after that.”

“Nobody is more honest than Bronson,” Baker said. “You might not like his answers. His answers will be honest. I love that. I ask a question, I want an honest answer. That’s the reason you communicate and talk to your players.”

Baker also set the top four spots of his rotation. It is:

Harang, Johnny Cueto, Arroyo, Homer Bailey and the No. 5 starter. There was a reason for moving Cueto ahead of Arroyo in the order, too.

“So you don’t tax your bullpen,” Baker said. “Harang, you know will give you innings. Cueto is not as consistent. Arroyo is consistent. Homer you don’t know. The fifth starter, you don’t know. You want to break up those guys because what if you had Arroyo and Harang back-to-back and the next three guys aren’t pitching well? You’re going to kill your bullpen. When you get back to Harang, you’ll have to stick with him longer because your bullpen is already spent.”

Historical note: Harang’s fifth-straight Opening Day assignment ties the club record for most consecutive first game starts held by Pete Donohue (1923-27) and Mario Soto, who did it from 1982-86. Soto holds the overall club record of six Opening Day starts.

OK folks — what do you think of this decision? Do you mind Harang starting the first game and being the staff ace again? Do you fault Arroyo for not wanting it?

I know the opener is sacred stuff in Cincinnati but I really don’t read too much into who gets to start to be honest. If Justin Lehr or Kip Wells got the nod, would anyone remember who started the first game if the Reds went on to win the World Series?

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Who is No. 1? Maybe not Harang

In the previous four springs I’ve been on the Reds beat, there was never any question who the No. 1 starter was in camp or who would start on Opening Day. It was always Aaron Harang.

Back-to-back six-win seasons can change that certainly. Talking to reporters on Friday, manager Dusty Baker wasn’t ready to say Harang was the ace.

“I don’t know,” Baker said. “We have to talk about it – what’s best for him, what’s best for us. He’s big in our equation. We tried to keep everybody here because we feel they can still do the job.”

An Opening Day starter has yet to be determined as well.

“Me and Bryan [Price] talked about it a little bit but not much,” Baker said. “We have to get through the spring first. We’re in a performance based occupation, like most, but probably even more. It’s a big responsibility being a No. 1, you know.”

I will have a more detailed story about Harang later today on MLB.com/Reds.com

Follow me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Nothing doing with LA, Harang

There was a story today from Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan that trade talks are indeed still alive between the Reds and Dodgers regarding starting pitcher Aaron Harang and L.A. reliever George Sherrill.

The story said the apparent holdup was that the Reds wanted a good prospect besides Sherrill, who would possibly be spun for more prospects by Cincinnati. Passan believed the Reds are willing to pay up to $10 million of the $14 million due to Harang. Sherrill is expected to earn $4.3 million.

A Reds source told me on Tuesday that L.A. did inquire about Harang but nothing happened. The Dodgers offer was never taken seriously. While I was on vacation last week, there were reports about Harang and the Dodgers but those talks were termed “dead” in a report by MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. It doesn’t sound like anything has really changed since then.

What made me skeptical of the latest report was the money and the return. There was no way the Reds would take on so much of Harang’s salary because sending $10 million to L.A. wouldn’t give them the real payroll room they’re seeking. And the Reds bullpen is already stocked with several lefties. They don’t need more with Arthur Rhodes, Daniel Herrera and Bill Bray among those already in house, especially for over $4 million that Sherrill is owed.

Good deeds by good men

The clubhouse staff is often the unseen backbone of a Major League team. They do everything they can to help the players — whether it’s getting their equipment together, putting stuff away, getting meals together — basically anything and everything.

Most Reds players appreciate what the clubhouse manager Rick Stowe and his staff do and on Thursday, Aaron Harang showed it in a very tangible way. Working with the Jake Sweeney dealership in Fields Ertel, Harang purchased an electric six-seat golf cart for Stowe and his crew to use. Of course, it’s all decked out in red. The price tag was $6,500.

ClubhouseCar2.JPG“That thing is awesome,” Stowe told Harang. “I don’t know what to tell you.”

Stowe and others took turns taking the cart for a spin. Of course, they are already trying to figure out ways to trick it out with fat tires, stereo, etc. In the picture, Stowe is in the driver’s seat. Behind him is visiting clubhouse manager and brother, Mark Stowe.

“I had been thinking about it for a while,” Harang said. “I talked to a couple of other guys and I felt they have done so much for me. They don’t have one specifically for them and they’re always hunting for carts to run errands, take guys to the bullpen, load bags up or transport stuff. It should be something just for them to have themselves.”

Harang wasn’t the only player who did a good deed on Thursday. When reporters walked into the clubhouse, Jonny Gomes was at his locker and shouted “Hal McCoy, come into my office.” 

gomesbat.jpgGomes presented Hal with the bat he used to hit his 20th home run during Wednesday’s win on Hal McCoy Night.

“We were in the dugout yesterday and he said ‘I’m going to try and hit a home run for you,’” Hal said.

Gomes proved to be a man of his word and Hal was touched by the gesture. 

Above is the picture of that bat.

I can’t think of too many managers that would do this. With Johnny Cueto missing his start tonight because of the flu, Dusty Baker arranged to send him some chicken soup to feel better.

“I went by Izzy’s to pick up some matzah balls, some rice and some noodles,” Baker said. “The chef here is going to make some chicken soup.”

Follow updates on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Harang's saga

Minus one useless appendix, pitcher Aaron Harang walked around like an elderly man inside the Reds clubhouse on Friday.

“I’m slow getting around. I get drained of energy very quick,” said Harang, who had an emergency appendectomy last Saturday at Good Samaritan Hospital.

When it comes to lengthy car drives, Harang and equipment manager Rick Stowe brought new meaning to the phrase “Are we there yet?”

On Saturday, Stowe had to drive Harang from Pittsburgh back to Cincinnati to have the operation after Harang was diagnosed with appendicitis. He explained what happened.

“I ordered a sandwich when I got back to the hotel at about 11 p.m. I ate it and went to bed,” Harang said. “I woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling achy. I wasn’t sure. It was a sharp pain. I didn’t think much of it. I wasn’t feeling good. I took a couple of Tums and tried to get back to sleep. It took two hours to get back to sleep.”

As the morning went on, Harang was prepared to go on with his day like normal.

“I looked up movie times and was going to the movies,” he said. “I called my wife and said I was having this pain in my lower side. She said it wouldn’t hurt to call [assistnat trainer] Steve [Baumann] or [head trainer] Mark Mann.”

Good idea. Baumann had Harang go to PNC Park. Then it was off to the hospital, where he was diagnosed by 5 p.m.

“We were going back and forth. Their general surgeon wanted to cut me open right there,” Harang said.

“I was fighting and telling Steve-o I just wanted to go home. It takes four hours. Rick said he would drive me back.”

Was he nervous?

“I wasn’t but Rick was. Steve told him to avoid any bumps. I texted Steve halfway through and said ‘why did you tell him to hit every bump?’ We listened to the game the whole way home.”

By 11 p.m., Harang and Stowe rolled into Good Sam.

“They took me in right there , walked me in the back way right into the back room, got me IV’d up and did tests, blood pressure,” Harang said. “Not even 45 minutes later, I was off to the operating room.”

There appears to be little to no chance Harang can return before the season is over.

“I can’t do any twisting movements for at least another two weeks,” he said. “You have to figure another two weeks to get my arm into shape. If we were in a different situation, a playoff situation, you’d probably push the envelope a little more. This late in the season, you have to assume it’s probably not the smart thing to do.”

Reds lineup:

Stubbs 8
Janish 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Rolen 5
Balentien 7
Gomes 9
Miller 2
Bailey 1

Other news:

For the doubleheader on Monday vs. Pittsburgh, Kip Wells is scheduled to start Game 1 and as expected, Johnny Cueto will be activated from the DL to start Game 2. Not on the list to start anytime soon is Micah Owings, who was also skipped over for Saturday. Matt Maloney has been called up.

“There are a few things Micah has to work on,” Dusty Baker said. “We believe he has the stuff but he has trouble keeping the ball down. It’s not like we haven’t given him an opportunity.”

Owings will be the long man out of the bullpen.

“What they decide is out of my control,” Owings said. “I will be ready to work when I get the ball.”

Baker wants to call former Brewers manager Ned Yost and former hitter/reliever Brooks Kieschnick to see how he was utilized as a pinch-hitter and warm up enough to pitch. Here is a link to an Owings story that included Kieschnick on May 26.

Check the main site after the game for a story on Maloney. He has developed some new pitches since his last big league stint

OF Laynce Nix was out of the lineup because of a sore neck. It’s been a recurring problem. He went for an MRI test today.

Bengals players Tank Johnson and Roy Williams were on the field during BP while a camera crew from the “Hard Knocks” HBO series was in tow. Both players were visiting with Nix, who is from the Dallas area.

Follow updates on Twitter at:

http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 452 other followers

%d bloggers like this: