Aaron Harang picked up right where he left off after an abysmal 6 and 14 season last year in his first spring training action. Harang only threw 1 and 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs on 4 hits. Aaron was scheduled to throw 3. Harang has already been slotted as the Reds Opening Day starter. The Reds have had the big guy since 2003. Harang was a go to guy to eat up innings and pound the zone.
Aaron is a huge guy who can really intimidate when he is rolling. During his first few years with the Reds, he was near the top of the League in strikeouts and innings pitched. What else could you want from your number 1 starter? He went out, pounded the strike zone, and competed. In his 3rd and 4th seasons, Harang went a combined 32 and 17 with 8 complete games. He really was coming into his own and anchoring the pitching staff. The past two years though, have been disastrous. Harang has compiled a record of 12 and 31 with just 3 complete games. These are unacceptable stats from your number 1 starter and are probably a reason why the Reds have not sniffed the playoffs.
Now the past couple of years, Harang has had plenty of good outings where the team has just not provided him with any run support. But in baseball, as in anything else in life, when it rains it pours. Harang throws some good outings and gets no run support. And all the sudden those 3 quality starts turn into 3 losses. Then over the next 3 outings he throws terrible and gets 3 more losses. All the sudden the big guy is 0 and 6.
This has been a common trend for Aaron the past 2 seasons and will be unacceptable this year. The Reds finally have enough arms and young talent that if Harang continues to struggle, we can somewhat afford to get rid of him. Now I am personally a big Harang supporter and want to see him do well. If Harang pitches like the Harang of a couple of years ago, this team has a shot to go to the playoffs (of course if the rest of the staff performs). The team really needs to provide the big guy some run support early on in the year so he can start rebuilding the confidence he once had. His first few starts in April will really determine if he ends up going 16 and 7 or 6 and 17. Can the Reds provide him with some decent run support?
Aaron is in the midst of some mechanical changes to his delivery. All I have to say is I hope these alterations work. The Reds need you big guy.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.