Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Haranguing Reds Manager About Harang

Whatever that "old school" was from which Reds manager Dusty Baker graduated, apparently he skipped class the day they taught how to effectively use a bullpen.

On May 25 Baker found himself entangled in what would become an 18-inning marathon in San Diego, and with a 1-run lead chose not to bring in short man and future closer Bill Bray but instead mop-up man Josh Fogg. And Fogg promptly gave up that 1-run lead.

By the time Baker figured out it was Bray he should bring in, it was too late, and he had to exhaust his entire bullpen - even bringing in starters Aaron Harang and Johnny Cueto.

Harang - who had started just three days earlier, throwing more than 100 pitches - went 4 innings that night. And he hasn't been the same since. Harang was sharp that night in San Diego, striking out 9 in four scoreless innings. When he left the game, his ERA was 3.32.

Harang has started three times since, and only one of those outings was passable; the other two were terrible:

  • May 29th: Gave up 10 hits, 6 ER in 4 innings
  • June 3 - Gave up 9 hits, 3 ER in 6 innings
  • June 8 - Gave up 11 hits, 7 ER in 5.1 innings

So before what should have been an unnecessary bullpen outing, Harang had a good ERA and league-leading strikeout numbers. Since that bullpen outing, Harang has pitched 15.1 innings with just 10 strikeouts, giving up 30 hits and 16 earned runs.

It's no wonder Baker has such a horrible reputation for handling pitching staffs.

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