Just had to mention, once again, the brilliant performance by Aaron Harang yesterday:

It was the first complete-game shutout of the year in the majors, and the earliest for Cincinnati since Pete Harnisch threw one against the San Diego Padres on April 4, 1999.

“It’s rare that you have a complete game that early,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It shows you what kind of shape he’s in.”

Maybe the credit should go to Harang’s off-season weight loss. Frankly, I give the credit to Harang’s bulldog mentality; he isn’t going to let himself go through another season like 2008.

18 Responses

  1. Glenn

    Dusty does deserve some credit for letting Harang pitch the ninth. This Weathers in the eigth and Cordero in the ninth doesn’t have to be written in stone.

  2. David

    There wouldn’t have been a complete game had it not been for the low pitch count. Through eight innings, Harang hadn’t thrown 90 pitches. That shows you just how good Harang was at getting in front of hitters and closing it out. Volquez better do the same tonight against a much more potent Brewers offense.

  3. GregD

    He’s getting the same lackluster run support so far this year that was one of the bigger contributributions to his poor record. I think Harang and Cueto each got 3.5 runs/game last year while Volquez and Arroyo were beneficiaries of 5+ runs per game.

    Obviously, Volquez had a great year, but Harang, Cueto, and Arroyo each ended up with near identical ERAs.

  4. Sultan of Swaff

    80% strikes will help, too. I hope Voltron was taking notes. Edinson needs to get that changeup over tonight.

  5. Steve Price

    I like watching Harang pitch…he seems so effortless and the ball explodes to the catcher.

    Baseball Prospectus is saying the Reds have three starters this year capable of leading the National League in strikeouts: Harang, Volquez, and Cueto.

    That’s saying something….

  6. Glenn

    What would AH’s record look like if he’d have some decent run support? He sure would have won more than 6 games last year. Three runs in his first two starts is not giving anyone a warm and fuzzy either.

  7. daedalus

    Cy Young? He’s only given up one run all season!

    This is exactly the type of game a number 1 pitches – the team had a crappy week and really needed a big game like this. Hopefully it’s a momentum changer. Instead of being 1-4, they’re 2-3, and although it’s only a minimal difference, psychologically I’m sure the young guys on the team feel better. I feel like it’s important to start off strong so the guys don’t develop the idea that they stink.

  8. Nathan

    Maybe I was just seeing things (I only saw a few highlights), but it seemed to me like he was getting some borderline calls from the ump. Not that I’m against that when it’s in favor of our Reds. 🙂

  9. Michael Howes

    As I mentioned in the game thread it is one of the best games by a Reds starter during the 1st week of the season in the last 50+ years
    Harang’s game score was 90 and so was Jim Maloney’s 4/19/1965

    Both pitched complete game shutouts.
    Harang SO 9 while Maloney SO 8
    Harang allowed 3 BR while Maloney allowed 4
    Maloney didn’t allow an extra base hit Harang allowed a double

    It gets better.
    The Reds have had only 40 starts since 1954 with a game score of 90 or better. In other words Harang’s start yesterday was one of the 40 best starts in the last 50 years by a Red.

    It’s also Harang’s best start as a Red
    interestingly enough he’s pitched one other game as a Red with a game score of 90
    That was in 2007 also against Pitt, in Pitt. In 2007 he allowed 2 H, 1B and SO 8 for the CG shutout

    The last Reds start better than Harang’s?
    Villone’s CG 16 SO performance back in 2000

    I’d also add it’s the best start in the majors this year. Loshe’s shutout yesterday is close but he only SO 4

  10. per14

    His game shows what can happen when you help yourself as much as possible:

    9 strikeouts
    0 walks
    0 home runs

    When you do that, it takes a lot of hits to beat you.

  11. GregC

    So, the Reds were last to pitch a complete game last year and the first to do so this year. I hope that is a good sign.

  12. Fireball44

    I remember that game that Villone pitched in 2000. Wasn’t that a 1-hitter vs. the Diamondbacks and Randy Johnson?

    Anyway, Harang was awesome yesterday. Never once did I get the feeling that he wasn’t in complete control of that game. That doesn’t happen often.

  13. Glenn

    What type of salary would a guy like Jim Maloney command now? The Reds couldn’t afford him.

  14. Michael Howes

    “What type of salary would a guy like Jim Maloney command now? The Reds couldn’t afford him.”

    The Reds *could* afford him but choose not to pay good players
    What’s ironic is that the Reds are paying a closer and a catcher a combined $16 million. While fielding the OF we are and the bench we are…..smart use of money there

    But back to the original question….as always with salaries it has as much to do with when you sign a player in their career and for how long. So it’s complicated

    I’ve we look at baseball-references similar players by age we notice some BIG names
    21. Tommy Hughes (988) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    22. Ted Blankenship (982) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    23. Ray Culp (976) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    24. Ramon Martinez (974) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    25. Gary Nolan (958) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    26. Roger Clemens (952) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    27. Steve Carlton (946) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    28. Sandy Koufax (956) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    29. Sandy Koufax (933) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    30. Ramon Martinez (940) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    31. Bob Gibson (951) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C

    So if the Reds were to try and sign Maloney at age 27 and do it today he’d make a probably about 15% less than Clemens because while his peak might have been similar to Clemens at age 26 he obviously was not anywhere near the pitcher Clemens was. This is hard to figure out because Clemens was only making $4-5 million a year at that age but it was in the early 90s and salaries have gone up even more now.
    Lets just say he’d make a lot 🙂

  15. Michael Howes

    by the way. I don’t know much about Maloney’s history..
    why was his career cut short? Like a lot of players back then he blew out his arm?
    He was essentially done by age 29 and really only pitched 7 full seasons

  16. Y-City Jim

    Maloney torn his achilles tendon rounding 1B during his second start of the 1970 season if I remember correctly. He was never the same after that.

  17. Glenn

    You make a good point Michael. The Reds, especially in the case of R. Hernandez are squandering payroll and it appears will get little production in return.

    Y-City’s right Maloney tore up an achilles. He try’d to comeback with the Angels I believe but he never even came close to the pitcher he’d been with the Reds.