The Reds rebounded from a 14-7 loss to the Cubs on Friday to post a 14-2 win over the North Siders on Saturday, but what might get lost in the shuffle was the dominance of Aaron Harang for Cincinnati. On the eve of his 32nd birthday, he pitched like the Harang of old and kept the Cubs at bay.
Harang’s night began when he struck out the side in the 1st inning. He lasted until there were two outs in the 7th, leaving with runners on 1st and 2nd. In between, he struck out a season-high nine batters and only allowed one walk. That one was to the last batter he faced. The crowd at Great American Ball Park gave him a raucous standing ovation as he left the field. It was quite a night for a man pitching in his 200th start in a Cincinnati uniform.
“The last three outings, I’ve been able to pretty much put the ball where I want it,” Harang said.
The stats would bear that out. Harang has allowed seven runs in 18.2 innings over his last three outings, a 3.37 ERA. He’s also got 21 strikeouts and allowed just two walks in those starts and is 2-1. The loss came May 2 at St. Louis when the Reds were shutout, 6-0.
Ryan Hanigan has caught Harang over those last three starts. Some observers have given Hanigan a lot of credit for helping to get Harang back on track. Hanigan is enjoying a resurgence of his own this season, after slumping down the stretch in his rookie season last year. Hanigan belted his first career grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs in Saturday’s win. He had only 11 RBIs last year. When he saw the media gathered at his locker after the game, he wanted no spotlight.
“The story is Aaron Harang,” Hanigan said. “He had his fastball working both sides of the plate, and he was attacking.”
So was the Cincinnati offense, which added 14 runs and 15 hits to the 7 runs and 16 hits they generated on Friday. Five of Saturday’s 14 runs were unearned. Drew Stubbs seems to be getting hot after moving to the 7th spot in the order. He ended an 0-for-15 run with a single on Friday. Saturday, he went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, and scored twice. Jonny Gomes had some clutch hits in the game to drive in runs. Gomes was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Brandon Phillips had three hits as well. Joey Votto got the offense rolling with a 1-out, 2-run homer to dead centerfield in the 1st.
The win got the Reds back to .500 after 30 games. They find themselves in 2nd place in the Central Division, 3.5 games out of first behind the Cardinals. They are also 2.5 games out of the wild card spot.
“We’re feeling good in here,” said Gomes. “Everyone’s loose and we’re sticking together. Everyone’s got each other’s back. We’re excited about where we are, but we understand the date, too. We’ve just got to keep it moving.”
NOTES: The Reds have had good success vs. lefthanded starters in 2010, going 6-3 against lefties… Votto’s homer extended his hitting streak to seven games (12-27, .444, 2hr, 5 RBI), the longest active streak on the team… Last night’s win was the Reds’ first on a Saturday this season… Sunday’s starter, Mike Leake, leads the staff with four quality starts… The Reds lead MLB is runners going from 1st to 3rd on hits… Cincinnati’s game vs. St. Louis next Saturday, May 15, is the Gillette Civil Rights Game and will be televised nationally on MLB Network… RHP Aroldis Chapman is scheduled to start Sunday in Louisville vs. Rochester. Chapman is 2-1, with a 3.12 ERA (26ip, 23h, 13bb, 30k)… Lynchburg catcher Devin Mesoraco was named the Reds minor league player of the month for April. Mesoraco hit .297 with 5 HR’s and 14 RBI in 19 games… Dayton lefty reliever Donnie Joseph was named the Reds minor league pitcher of the month for April. In 10 appearances, Joseph was 2-1 with an 0.79 ERA. He threw 11.1 innings and allowed one run on five hits and two walks, and struck out 18.
About the Author
Written by Dave Allen
I'm a lifelong Cincinnati sports fan who has been following the Reds and Bengals ever since I can remember. My first Reds game was Game 6 of the '72 World Series and my first Bengals game was an October 1975 clash with the Steelers. I've been involved in sports media since Junior High, when I assisted with scores for Bob Trumpy SportsTalk in 1979 on WLW Radio. My biggest Reds highlight came in 1998 when I was chosen to be the public address announcer at Riverfront Stadium (then called Cinergy Field) for Opening Day and the entire first homestand. I am thrilled to be involved with PSB and I hope you enjoy my entries!