Results tagged ‘ Aaron Harang ’

Baker: 'This is embarrassing'

Usually an optimist, Reds manager Dusty Baker fired on his own team in a manner that hadn’t previously been heard from him around here. You couldn’t really blame him after a 7-1  loss to the Padres on Wednesday where they were held to all of one hit by starting pitcher Mat Latos, who was making just his third big league start. That’s eight losses over the last nine games.

“This is totally unacceptable,” Baker said. “This is embarrassing. It’s like pitiful to watch. This is terrible.”

The lone hit was a Jerry Hairston Jr. home run in the fourth, which came after Latos retired his first 10 in a row. There were only two other Reds on base the rest of the night — on walks. San Diego hadn’t won back-to-back games since June 27-28 vs. Texas. That was also the last time the Padres didn’t lose a series.

“They’re taking it to us. We’re not getting after it,” Baker said. “We certainly have to do a whole lot better than that. This is pitiful. They’re not a good club. And if they’re not a good club and they’re beating us like that, what does this make us?”

This is reality biting the Reds, hard.

They will wake up on Thursday, the day before the trade deadline, 10 games below .500. I would be stunned if at least one deal isn’t made before 4 p.m. ET on Friday…but who will be dealt away?

Aaron Harang has been periodically mentioned in rumors but here is another reality: he hasn’t won a game in over two months. In his last 12 starts, he is 0-8 with a 5.56 ERA. Overall he is 5-12 with a 4.50 ERA. That might be a tough sell to other GMs.

Harang was down 5-0 through just his first six batters on Wednesday. Adrian Gonzalez hit a changeup out over the plate for a two-run homer. Later in the first inning, Kyle Blanks absolutely blasted a three-run homer 451 feet to left field. After that, Harang had much better command. Overall, he allowed seven earned runs over seven-innings with nine hits, four walks and five strikeouts.

“We were operating from a 5-0 deficit right away,” Baker said. “Our offense isn’t such right now where we can come right back and score a lot of runs. After that, he settled down but the damage was done and it was too late.”

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Hanigan's neck, Harang on rumors

Catcher Ryan Hanigan was opening mail inside the Reds clubhouse and was able to turn his head about as far as needed to reach for the next letter. As far as putting the gear on and getting behind the plate, Hanigan’s sore neck wasn’t ready. He missed his fourth-straight start and Craig Tatum was in his place.

Hanigan, who is day-to-day, recently went for an adjustment at a chiropractor.

“My spine is a little out of whack and the inflammation left over from putting it into place is taking a while to go away,” Hanigan said. “It’s just impeding my range of motion. There’s nothing I can do until I can move my head. It’s definitely getting better but it’s slower than I hoped.”

Obviously, Hanigan was moved up the depth chart when Ramon Hernandez went on the DL. For those wondering who would be the emergency catcher should Tatum go down — it’s shortstop Paul Janish.

“It’s the same guy that’s my emergency pitcher,” manager Dusty Baker said.

Starting pitcher Aaron Harang has figured prominently in trade rumors as July 31 nears. Harang said he has a partial no-trade clause but was hazy on the details about which teams.

“I don’t know which teams I put,” Harang said. “I put them down a couple of years back.”

Harang, who is starting on Wednesday, has one guaranteed year left on his contract beyond this season. He’s making $11 million this year and $12.5 million in 2010 with a $12.75 million option for 2011.

“You can’t let it bother you, especially being a veteran guy, your name is going to come up more times than not,” Harang said of the rumors. “You just can’t let it affect how you go out and play every day. I’m going to show up at my locker each day. You really don’t know. I will know if they ever call me into the office and tell me. I’m not worried about it.”

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Gonzalez 6
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Encarnacion 5
Nix 7
Gomes 9
Tatum 2
Arroyo 1

RF Jay Bruce, on the DL with a fractured right wrist, had his full-length cast cut below the elbow on Monday. He will wear that cast on his non-throwing arm for another 10 days before he is evaluated again.

“I’m pretty much back to normal activity as far as physical stuff – throwing, running, lifting,” Bruce said on Tuesday. “I’m just getting ready so when I do get the cast off, the only thing I’d have to do is get my arm ready and not anything else.”

1B Joey Votto enters today batting .350 but remains 29 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the National League lead. The current NL leader in the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez at .348.

IF Danny Richar had season-ending left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. Dr. Tim Kremchek performed the procedure today. Richar is expected to be ready by Spring Training 2010.

So much for that Pete Rose reinstatement stuff. The same columnist who “broke” the story yesterday that Rose’s exile might end followed up with a story that’s a total 180.

Reliever Daniel Herrera was parked in a chair on Tuesday that kind of small, even for him. It was a toddler-sized chair from the movie “Cars” and it had replaced his regular folding chair. It wasn’t even a prank — Herrera spotted the chair in a storage area at GABP on Monday.

“We’re 1-0 with the chair,” Herrera said. “I’m the only one that can fit in it.”

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(Much needed) break time

One thing was clear during the Reds’ 9-7 loss to the Mets at Citi Field: it’s a very good time for them to disperse for the All-Star break.

The road trip ended with a 2-5 record, including two of three to a Mets team even more banged up than the Reds. Cincinnati is a season-high three games under .500 at 42-45.

Frustration bubbled over, especially for Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman was ejected in the top of the fourth inning for arguing a called strike three by home plate umpire Bill Welke that he felt was inside. Votto was allowed to vent at Welke for several moments before he was run.

It was the first ejection of Votto’s short career. Not a stretch to think it has something to do with his being called out on strikes six times during the road trip, including his last three at-bats in a row (twice on Sunday). Votto will return after the break, of course, but his 14-game hitting streak is on a permanent vacation.

“I’d like to thank Bill Welke for christening me with my first ejection,” said Votto, who had been ejected before in the minors. “I didn’t do anything or offend him in any way. I didn’t go below the belt. I had a basic disagreement with him as far as what was a ball and a strike. He’s a good guy. I don’t have a problem with Bill, at all. I just stood there a little too long and he ran me. He’s a good guy.”

Later in the game, Welke punched out Edwin Encarnacion on a called strike three in the eighth that stopped a rally. Good thing Encarnacion didn’t argue (the pitch looked high and inside to me)– the Reds were about to use up their whole bench.

The Reds could have used Votto’s bat at the end of the game. It was still winnable but a pair of seventh-inning homers against David Weathers proved to be the difference. After Fernando Tatis hit the second homer of the inning to left field, Mets fans became irate when the giant red apple didn’t pop out behind the center field wall.

Maybe Citi Field wasn’t ready for another homer so fast. Before Brian Schneider’s long ball that started the inning, the Mets had gone 80 innings without one. The last one was hit on July 2.

As bad luck would have it, the banged up Reds outfield caught another bad break. Right fielder Chris Dickerson left after four innings with back spasms. He’s day-to-day. Dickerson fully extended himself on an unsuccessful diving catch attempt on David Wright’s bloop single in the bottom of the third and seemed to need an extra moment.

It was a rough game for starter Aaron Harang: 3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER. He’s 0-5 with a 5.26 ERA in nine games since his last victory on May 25.

“I just didn’t have my location,” Harang said. “I was missing spots, falling behind and having to come back and throw strikes. They were out there swinging.”

Yep, it’s time for a break.

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Bruce, Votto, post-break rotation

After slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was benched for two games to get a break, it might seem odd to see him batting second on Saturday vs. the Mets and ace lefty Johan Santana. It was only the second time this season Bruce batted in the No. 2 spot.

But there was a method to Dusty Baker’s madness.

“It’s back-to-back lefties vs. Santana because he’s actually pitched better vs. righties than lefties,” Baker said. Maybe if Willy [Taveras] gets on, he’ll get a good pitch to hit. And he’ll be in front of Joey [Votto] too so we’ll see.”

Lefties came into tonight batting .267 vs. Santana this season. Right-handers were batting .221.

Reds lineup:

Taveras 8
Bruce 9
Votto 3
Phillips 4
Hernandez 2
Encarnacion 5
Gomes 7
Hairston Jr. 6
Cueto 1

Speaking of Votto, he has a career-high 13-game hitting streaking going into Saturday. He’s batting .357 in 17 games since his return from a month on the DL with depression. And, get this, he doesn’t feel fully locked in at the plate yet.

“I’m feeling a lot better since coming back but I still have stuff to work on constantly,” Votto said. “I feel like my strength is coming back to where it was before. I’m not quite where I was but I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

“I made sure that when I came back, I tried to be as mechanically sound as possible. Sometimes during the year if you’re a little stronger, you don’t have to quite as exact or make mistakes or miss and still find good results. Ideally, you want both combined. That’s what the great hitters do.”

Before Votto spent 21 games on the DL, the Reds were 26-21 with a .257 team average. While he was out, they went 8-13 and batted .217. The Reds are 8-9 since his return coming into tonight’s game.

“It really hurt when were missing Joey,” Baker said. “It hurt bad, especially when you don’t have an high-octane offense.”

Here is your Reds rotation coming out of the All-Star break:

Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Johnny Cueto and Micah Owings.

Baker and Dick Pole wanted to set up the rotation so no one got too many days off. Cueto will be pitching on seven days rest and Harang will be getting five days. Owings gets the longest break with 10 days of rest.

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Much needed win

This was one game the Reds had to have, under no uncertain terms.

After a 22-1 loss, anything that can replace that awful taste is a good thing. The Reds did that with a 4-3 win where they also came close to being blown out for the third time in a row.

“There’s not much to say other than we needed that game badly,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “I guess when you really need something and want it, you can get it.”

Aaron Harang survived giving up back-to-back homers to Howard and Utley  Werth to start the second inning. In the third after he gave up a run, he escaped a bases loaded, no outs jam. There was the leadoff triple by Ruiz in the fourth that went by the boards. Holding the Phillies from piling on enabled the Reds to come back.

The winless streak for Harang is up to eight starts since May 25. Five of the starts were quality outings (at least six innings and three earned runs or less).

The big play of the night came in the ninth. With Joey Votto on second with a leadoff double, Brandon Phillips dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to first base. It helped set up the winning hit, a single by Ramon Hernandez.

Baker asked Phillips to bunt because he was 0-for-7 lifetime vs. Lidge.

“We’re trying to win games,” Baker said. “I talked it over with Brandon before he went up there. He said ‘no problem.'”

“You have to learn how to do the fundamental things,” Phillips said. “You have to learn how to bunt. All the little kids out there think bunting is not important. But in situations like that, bunting does come through. If I hadn’t got him over, we might still be playing right now.”

The Reds are back at .500 at 41-41. The Cardinals beat the Brewers and the Cubs and Astros loss. Cincinnati is 3 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis.

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Same ol' story

There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said. Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the White Sox was like watching a summer rerun. Good Reds pitching was trumped by no Reds hitting as Mark Buehrle dispatched them with seven scoreless innings. Aaron Harang has three quality starts and a rain shortened start this month and no wins.

Dusty Baker was a bit edgy after the game and wore the look of disdain. Here is a sampling of his postgame comments:

“That’s been a repetitive story. We’re trying to find a way to get some hits when they count and drive in some runs. Aaron pitched well enough to win today. I’ve gone over this many times. We have to produce some runs.”

“Here we are in late June and we’re still doing the same things we did in April and May. It seems like we’re not learning anything. I’m frustrated big time. The guys are frustrated too.”
“They blooped some balls in there early. Still, we have to score.”

“We’vre had chances. We’ve had opportunities. We have to get somebody to drive in some runs. Brandon [Phillips] has been pretty good but other guys – we give them a theory and philosophy on how to drive in runs.

There is a way. It’s frustrating to look up there and see a lot of zeroes or a one or a two. Last night, we scored but couldn’t stop them from scoring.”

That’s a 3-3 homestand that was winnable. The big loss was Saturday when the Reds blew a 5-0 lead and still lost as the White Sox made four errors. That hurt…a lot. Their record is back to .500 at 34-34 and four games out of first place. It’s not a bad place to be but they really need a certain someone to return to the lineup, meaning…

The Joey Votto watch will be on this week. Votto was 1-for-3 with a lined RBI single to center field and a run scored in his second game with Class-A Dayton. Nothing has been announced, but I envision Votto making his next stop at Double-A Carolina, which is home all of this week.

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Rain stinks, winning doesn't

In nine seasons of covering baseball, I’ve seen rain delays, rainouts, snow outs and delays from because of power failure and even for $1 hot dogs being pelted onto the Metrodome field at former Twin Chuck Knoblauch, but I’ve never seen anything like what went down on Tuesday night.

Heavy showers moved through and delayed the Reds and Braves in the top of the third inning for one hour, 54 minutes. Although it was still raining, but much lighter, umpire crew chief Joe West made the call to pull the tarp and play. First we were told it would be 20 minutes to resume, then 10 p.m. ET and then it was 9:50 p.m. Play actually restarted at 9:49 p.m. ET. The outfield warning track may have resembled the Ohio River, but it was game on anyway.

Pitchers were warmed up. Daniel Herrera took over for starter Aaron Harang and got three outs just as showers intensified. Play lasted all of six minutes before the tarp was back out and another delay was called. As soon as the tarp was spread out, the rain pretty much stopped.

Regardless of the outcome for the Reds, the stars of the game are head groundskeeper Doug Gallant and his crew. They had performed under less than savory conditions. Hopefully there was enough quickdry to get them through the game and some “cold ones” for after the game.

By the way, that was the 10th rain delay for the Reds this season — seven of them have been at GABP. This time they came out of the other side with a sorely needed victory — 7-2 over Atlanta. It snapped a four-game losing streak and was some nice tonic after the 2-4 debacle of a road trip.

Unfortunately, it was all for naught for Harang. He started threw two innings and had to pack it in because of the rain. In the first inning, he was dealing — 13 pitches, 13 strikes. He fanned Brian McCann with a 94 mph fastball to end the first.

“I felt good from the get-go,” Harang said. “I worked on some things in the bullpen between starts. Everything was clicking.”

“That’s the best Aaron has thrown this year,” manager Dusty Baker said. “With velocity, location everything, he was on his way to an excellent ballgame. I hope he remembers that and keeps that tempo and that rhythm and takes it out there next time. Boy that was a very good ballgame that turned for our sake.

Herrera pitched three scoreless innings and earned the win — and a shaving cream pie in the face from Harang.

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Strange days at GABP

This has been one goofy home stand, for sure.

There was the 12-5 blowout vs. Philly on Thursday where the Reds narrowed a 6-0 deficit to 6-5 in before giving up seven more runs. There were Joey Votto’s two homers on Saturday vs. Cleveland that were canceled out by Homer Bailey’s wildness and that was a nearly four-hour game. There were extra innings on Sunday, with the weird obstruction call on Adam Rosales in the seventh that tied the game and put the kibosh on a potential victory for Johnny Cueto.
Then there was the two-hour, three minute rain delay with two outs in the Houston fourth inning on Monday. Starter Aaron Harang waited long enough to get one out to qualify for a victory.

Somehow through it all, the Reds have won three of their last four.

Roy Oswalt is on the mound for the Astros on Tuesday. In case you haven’t seen this stat paraded around endlessly, Oswalt is 23-1 lifetime vs. them. He hasn’t taken the loss vs. Cincinnati since April 28, 2006. Against them in 2009, he has two no-decisions but a 0.69 ERA. Strangely, Oswalt is only 1-2 through 10 games this season.

Votto is back in the lineup today. How long can the Reds go with Votto and Brandon Phillips either out or at less than 100 percent?

If Votto is still bothered by the dizziness and hit two homers like he did Saturday, what will he do when the inner ear infection is finally behind him for good?

Are you worried about Jay Bruce, who enters today in a 0-for-13 funk? I wrote about Bruce on May 20 and how he was trying to be more patient at the plate. But he still keeps swinging at bad pitches (36 Ks in 158 ABs).

Reds lineup:

Dickerson CF
Hairston 2B
Votto 1B
Hernandez C
Bruce RF
Nix LF
Gonzalez SS
Rosales 3B
Owings P

In a shameless plug for myself, check out this article about Micah Owings and other NL pitchers that are very good hitters.

Additional news from the clubhouse:

  • Phillips hit some balls off the tee again today and also hit some underhand tosses. So far, so good. All signs are pointing to a return to the lineup on Friday at Milwaukee. There was a chance he could pinch-hit the next two games.

“He felt pretty good,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He’s having a little trouble throwing. He let it hang out pretty good they told me. He only felt it on a couple of swings.”

If and when Phillips does come back, he won’t be given any limitations.

“The doctor said he can’t do any more damage to it unless something insane happens,” Baker said. “Which is out of your control anyway.”

“It feels the same but the pills are working,” Phillips said. “I don’t know what I’m taking but they’re working.”

  • This is how Baker is handling the unpredictable nature of Votto’s dizziness and inner ear infection:

“He’s getting better but it’s still a day-to-day thing,” Baker said. “I check with him, check with the trainers. We’re doing the honor system thing.”

  • Harang feels OK the day after his unusual five-inning win on Monday.

“I think there have been times I’ve been more sore after a regular start than that one.”

  • Edinson Volquez has another bullpen session scheduled for Wednesday. Volquez threw “nice and easy” in the bullpen Monday and played catch on the field Tuesday.
  • RHP Nick Masset was activated from the 15-day DL as expected. To make room on the 25-man roster, C/IF Wilkin Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
  • CF Willy Taveras was just given the day off. Taveras has struggled some since his 14-game hitting streak ended in San Diego.

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Harang waits out a win

It seemed unheard of in modern baseball these days. In a stunner on Sunday, the Reds sent starter Aaron Harang back out to pitch after a fifth-inning rain delay so he could notch one more out and qualify for a victory.

No matter how well he’s doing, a starting pitcher will usually be pulled from the game if there’s a lengthy rain delay. And today’s two-hour and three minute delay certainly qualified as lengthy. It also stopped action one out from an official game in the fifth inning when the Reds were leading 6-3.

“Harang, working on two hours rest…” joked a press box wag.

Harang was at 81 pitches before the stoppage. After play resumed, he faced two more batters and gave up a single before getting that final out on a Humberto Quintero strikeout to finish at 93 pitches. In five innings, Harang gave up three earned runs and 10 hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Reds won the game 8-5.

“We were going to give him two hitters,” manager Dusty Baker said. “If he couldn’t get it done in two hitters, then we’d go to somebody else. With the hard luck Aaron had last year, you had to give him a chance to win that game.”

Harang, who is 5-4 with a 3.36 ERA, stayed loose indoors by throwing simulated innings in the batting cage.

“I went in there and told them I’m going to get this out,” Harang said. “It doesn’t matter to me how long I have to sit here and toss. I just tried to stay loose and stay active. The third or fourth time I warmed up, it was getting kind of dicey. They were getting a little antsy to decide what was going on.”

What did you think of the decision to send Harang back out? Gritty and old school competitor, or too risky for an injury even with the indoor throwing? How will this move go over, especially if he doesn’t do well in his next start?

Discuss.

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Harang vents again…a little.

The Reds find themselves staring at a potential 1-5 home stand and a three-game sweep to the Astros. Tuesday’s 8-3 loss wasn’t pretty in any sense and another source of anger and frustration for Aaron Harang.

“I don’t know what to say, really,” said Harang, who lasted only five innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts. “They came out swinging and I just couldn’t get it done.”

You may remember that Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros left Harang burning with a 7-0 loss on April 18 in Houston. In that game, he tossed a cooler along with a bat and glove. After a four-run Astros fifth tonight, Harang slammed his glove on the bench.

“I’m expecting to go out there and go seven or eight innings,” Harang said. “I made some good pitches. We brought the infield in [for Matsui] and I got exactly what I wanted to. Of course it goes right through the infield. It’s not their fault. It went right through the hole. There was nothing you could do about it. It’s kind of tough when you go out and are trying to get as deep in the games and you can’t get it done.”

The big glaring number that was the defense’s fault were three errors. Joey Votto made two errors on one play in the first inning and it let a run come home.

“We didn’t help him out very much. That hurt,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.

For those who wanted to see Adam Rosales, no dice. Rosales made the on-deck circle twice but never entered. He was standing there when Alex Gonzalez flew out to end the game.

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