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OnBaseMachine
01-04-2009, 09:45 PM
What happened to Harang?

by Peter Bendix - January 4, 2009 · Filed under Sleepers, Starting Pitchers

Last season began well enough for Aaron Harang.

In fact, through his first 11 starts, he was having a normal, Harang-like season. Check it out:

http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/first-11-starts2-300x47.jpg

Harang had a 3.50 ERA, more or less what we’d expect given those peripherals. But then, Dusty Baker made an interesting decision.

On May 22, Aaron Harang made a start on normal rest. Then, on May 25, Baker brought Harang into a tie game in the 13th inning. Harang proceeded to pitch 4 shutout innings, striking out 9 and throwing 63 pitches in the process. Harang’s next start was on May 29.

Starting pitchers have been known to pitch an inning out of the bullpen between starts, but Harang threw 63 pitches – in a tie game, no less. Of course, Harang has had a rubber arm over the last couple of seasons, having pitched over 200 innings in three straight years. If anyone could handle the added workload, it would be Harang, right?

Apparently not.

After the bullpen appearance, Harang had a 7.31 in his next eight starts. Here are his accompanying peripherals:

http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/next-8-starts1-300x49.jpg

His strikeout rate was approximately the same, but he walked one more batter per nine innings. His homer rate also skyrocketed. The question is: was Harang unlucky – thanks to a very-high BABIP and homer rate – or was he hurt?

Well, Harang was placed on the DL on July 9 with a strained right forearm. He was then activated on August 10. However, he struggled mightily in his first two starts, giving up a total of 16 runs in 7 1/3 innings. After that, though, Harang seemed to regain his past form. Check it out:

http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/final-8-starts1-300x47.jpg

He posted a 2.83 ERA over these eight starts.

So what does it all mean? Well…

On the one hand, Harang’s peripherals didn’t really change too much throughout the season, even after his bullpen stint. His walk rate rose, and it’s very possible that fatigue caused him to lose control of his pitches. However, his strikeout rate remained high, and it’s possible that his high BABIP and high homer rate could be more attributed to bad luck in a small sample size rather than anything else.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that Harang’s ERA changed drastically directly after his outing in the bullpen. If he did indeed lose control of his pitches (as evidenced by the higher walk rate), it’s not difficult to surmise that he was also grooving an inordinate amount of pitches, leading to a higher BABIP and higher homer rate.

After he returned from the DL, his first two starts were awful, but this can be very easily be attributed to the fact that he wasn’t yet fully healthy. In his final eight starts, Harang more-or-less returned to “normal” form. His BABIP was actually a little low, and his strikeout rate was lower than before. Again, it’s difficult to tell whether this is significant or the product of a small sample size.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the bullpen stint somehow screwed Harang up. It’s very possible that his 7.31 ERA was inflated partly due to bad luck, but it’s also clear that Harang was not as good of a pitcher after the bullpen outing as he was beforehand. It’s also clear that Harang was pretty much back to “normal” after returning from the DL (well, after his first two starts). This is further evidence for Harang actually being injured.

For next year, it’s fair to expect Harang to return to his normal numbers – his numbers before 2008. That means that he has the potential to be very undervalued going into drafts next year. There is, of course, a caveat: namely, the possibility that Harang is not fully healthy. This seems unlikely, however, given his performance over the final eight starts of the season.

Aaron Harang plays for a mediocre team, in front of a poor defense, in a hitter’s park. However, he is also a very good pitcher who is likely to put up numbers that are much better than his 2008 line. It’s reasonable to expect an ERA between 3.50 and 4, and a strikeout rate somewhere around 8 batters per nine. Harang is probably going to be undervalued in your league, and is an excellent sleeper.

http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/what-happened-to-harang

membengal
01-04-2009, 09:51 PM
That guy said:


If I had to guess, I’d say that the bullpen stint somehow screwed Harang up.

Welcome to the rather large club, dude.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:04 PM
Trying to use stats to backup an assessment then discounting those same stats in the same article is a poor way to go about writing a piece like this.

You can't try and be statistical and then say this:


If I had to guess, I’d say that the bullpen stint somehow screwed Harang up.

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:11 PM
That decision by Baker last year with Harang in that game remains one of the single most indefensible things I have ever seen from a Cincy manager.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:14 PM
That decision by Baker last year with Harang in that game remains one of the single most indefensible things I have ever seen from a Cincy manager.

While it wasn't the smartest thing ever done, it was also totally overblown.

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:15 PM
Except that, it wasn't. It needlessly jeapordized an actual asset for this team, and Harang pitched, however you want to try and spin the numbers, horribly after the abuse. Plus, he came up with arm issues.

There was nothing overblown about anyones reactions.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:18 PM
Except that, it wasn't. It needlessly jeapordized an actual asset for this team, and Harang reacted, however you want to try and spin the numbers, horribly after the abuse. Plus, he came up with arm issues.

There was nothing overblown about anyones reactions.

In the middle of Harang's downward spiral, he plowed through the Red Sox like a AA team. If that game were to truly be the cause for his performance issues and "arm troubles", I doubt he would have feasted on the Bosox.

Not smart? Yep. But I would have loved to see the reaction if he punted that game by putting in a position player, which was the alternative.

And, has Harang ever spoken about it? Just curous if he wanted to throw.

dougdirt
01-04-2009, 10:20 PM
In the middle of Harang's downward spiral, he plowed through the Red Sox like a AA team. If that game were to truly be the cause for his performance issues and "arm troubles", I doubt he would have feasted on the Bosox.

Not smart? Yep. But I would have loved to see the reaction if he punted that game by putting in a position player, which was the alternative.

And, has Harang ever spoken about it? Just curous if he wanted to throw.
It shouldn't matter if Harang wanted to throw. He isn't paid to know whether its a good or bad idea. Dustball is, yet still didn't.

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:22 PM
Why would Harang speak about it? He has always struck me as a team player and not the kind of guy to make waves. And I am sure he would have wanted to go out there (I think he did), but that doesn't mean he should have been allowed to. That's why Baker is paid to manage. To, in part, protect assets.

And one max effort outing against the Red Sox in that stretch with adreniline pushing him doesn't take away from what he was during that stretch otherwise...

The reaction if Baker had done the right thing? I am sure there would have been some people who would have been upset (but, dear heavens, I would hope Baker isn't managing to make the Bad Fundamentals of the world happy...), but I am sure the wisdom of not torching an asset would have also been recognized as the right one by plenty of folks as well.

There was simply no reason, ever, EVER, to risk Harang in that meaningless May game. Period. Wasn't then, isn't now. Completely indefensible.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:28 PM
It shouldn't matter if Harang wanted to throw. He isn't paid to know whether its a good or bad idea. Dustball is, yet still didn't.

Harang threw on 2 days rest. Once. In an emergency situation.

Did he screw up by throwing Fogg in a short situation? Sure. But stretching out Fogg would have been equivalent to pitching Valentin. A sure loss.

I guess my question would be "How much of a risk was it?" Can anyone quantify? Is throwing on 2 days rest a sure death sentence?

Even further, was Harang scheduled to throw a side session?

Again, I don't think anyone would say that it was the optimal move. But it was a freaky situation.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:29 PM
There was simply no reason, ever, EVER, to risk Harang in that meaningless May game. Period. Wasn't then, isn't now. Completely indefensible.

Trying to win a baseball game is the defense.

And I would have LOVED to see what would have happened if he punted and that game ended up meaning something.

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:31 PM
There would have been OTHER games that "meant something". Like, say, any of a number of Harang's horrible starts after that as he sprialed the drain where he had nothing in the tank. Big picture, edabbs, but you know that.

As for the insane "side session" defense, there is NO way that a normal side session involves 63 pitches at max effort (he was running the ball up there touching 94 during that outing, as high as he can get) in game situations. That is a horrible defense of the indefensible move.

Falls City Beer
01-04-2009, 10:32 PM
One thing's for sure: if Harang spits the bit this season, it'll be blamed on that bullpen appearance.

dougdirt
01-04-2009, 10:32 PM
Harang threw on 2 days rest. Once. In an emergency situation.

Did he screw up by throwing Fogg in a short situation? Sure. But stretching out Fogg would have been equivalent to pitching Valentin. A sure loss.

I guess my question would be "How much of a risk was it?" Can anyone quantify? Is throwing on 2 days rest a sure death sentence?

Even further, was Harang scheduled to throw a side session?

Again, I don't think anyone would say that it was the optimal move. But it was a freaky situation.
Once is one more time than it should happen short of the playoffs. In May especially its just beyond dumb to think its a good idea. So instead of pitching for the sure loss as you noted, we took the risk of then sending Harang to the DL in favor of Josh Fogg for 6-7 starts and likely 5+ losses. Again, 1 loss or 5+, much less if it actually led to a real bad injury we are talking about losing Harang for a year and even then, would he be the same after that?

There is no reason at all to use Harang in that situation. Zero.

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:34 PM
One thing's for sure: if Harang spits the bit this season, it'll be blamed on that bullpen appearance.

Not from me, but it was for darn sure a straight line from that to a lost two and a half months in the middle of last season for Cincy/Harang. And I hope against hope that Dusty learned from that mistake as he heads into 2009...

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 10:45 PM
There would have been OTHER games that "meant something". Like, say, any of a number of Harang's horrible starts after that as he sprialed the drain where he had nothing in the tank. Big picture, edabbs, but you know that.

As for the insane "side session" defense, there is NO way that a normal side session involves 63 pitches at max effort (he was running the ball up there touching 94 during that outing, as high as he can get) in game situations. That is a horrible defense of the indefensible move.

Like I said...it wasn't the best situation and wasn't an optimal decision.

But I do think the reaction was overblown. His K rate stayed virtually the same and his BABIP was insanely high. Does that stuff mean anything?

Listen, I don't think that pitching guys on 2 days rest is a great thing to do. But is there any evidence whatsoever that quantifies how bad (if at all) it really is?

membengal
01-04-2009, 10:53 PM
No, ebadds, but that is because it is such a bad idea, there really isn't a body of data, is there?

And the issue with Harang, as near as I could tell, following the debacle, was that he was not locating nearly as well as needs to. His pitches, when he missed, were catching way too much of the plate, and bad things happened. As hard as Harang can throw (as heavy, if you will), he relies on hitting spots. And he wasn't nearly the same in terms of command following the May badness.

But, yeah, I agree it wasn't optimal.

westofyou
01-04-2009, 11:00 PM
Harang has the worst OPS for any player in MLB history with at least 350 AB's



OPS OPS AB RB EBH
1 Aaron Harang .182 354 33 3
2 Dean Chance .183 662 79 2
3 Ben Sheets .196 433 51 3
4 Bob Buhl .220 857 116 2
5 Ron Kline .222 491 62 3
6 Al Benton .223 512 58 7
7 Ryan Dempster .224 375 42 8
8 Jose DeLeon .226 419 56 2
9 Virgil Barnes .232 371 47 0
10 Roger Craig .235 448 70 2

Falls City Beer
01-04-2009, 11:04 PM
Not from me, but it was for darn sure a straight line from that to a lost two and a half months in the middle of last season for Cincy/Harang. And I hope against hope that Dusty learned from that mistake as he heads into 2009...

Correlation =/= causation.

RedFanAlways1966
01-04-2009, 11:20 PM
Blame Dusty?
(a) No. Eight pitchers used before Harang. There are 25 spots on a MLB roster (not 53 like the NFL). Cueto starts tomorrow. Arroyo threw yesterday. Hatteberg, Votto, Freel, Janish were used as PHs before Harang entered in the 13th inning. 8 (starting players) + 8 (pitchers) + 2 (pitchers can't pitch) + 4 (reserves) = 22 players. That leaves Harang, Bako and Volquez. Bako pitch? Notta.
(b) No. Blown saves by Weathers (8th inn), Cordero (9th) and Bray (11th). Cannot blame a man for putting three different guys in positions to get three outs (only one out for Bray), what they are paid big $$$ to do, and having all three fail.
(c) No. Volquez threw 1.2 innings that day (39 pitches). Didn't seem to effect him (5 straight QS after that game). 24 less pitches? Sure, but once Harang enters you only have Volquez left to throw. Who do you trust to withstand more extra throws at that point in time, Harang or Volquez? Anyone who does not answer with a word that starts with an "H" is lying or foolish.
(d) No. Two of Harang's next four starts were QS (not just the Boston game). Perhaps it was something more than that one appearance in San Diego. Had a 4.44 ERA in four May starts (vs. 2.98 ERA in April in 7 GS) before the relief appearance including 12 runners, 5 ER and 2 HRA against the Padres in 5.1 IP just 3 days prior to the bullpen move.
(e) Yes. Put in Bako to pitch (he was the only option) or just forfeit. I am sure there would have been no RZ threads questioning that move.
(f) Yes. Should have had a crystal ball or ESP and known that the game would last 18 innings (18 innings happens all the time, right?). Should have used the previous 8 pitchers two more outs per each and been okay.

I am not a Dusty fan club member. But those who blame him can add (g) through (whatever) and try to explain it along with (e) and (f). Keep in mind that these opinions are being given in hindsight (very-very key point). Have at it! :)

dougdirt
01-04-2009, 11:24 PM
I am not a Dusty fan club member. But those who blame him can add (g) through (whatever) and try to explain it along with (e) and (f). Keep in mind that these opinions are being given in hindsight (very-very key point). Have at it! :)
Not really. A lot of us were suggesting giving the ball to a position player when both Harang and then Volquez were brought in.

edabbs44
01-04-2009, 11:26 PM
Not really. A lot of us were suggesting giving the ball to a position player when both Harang and then Volquez were brought in.

Again, I would have loved to see the reaction of Dusty pretty much forfeiting a game. Maybe some people would have sided with him, including a few people on here. But that would have been a disaster.

dougdirt
01-04-2009, 11:29 PM
Again, I would have loved to see the reaction of Dusty pretty much forfeiting a game. Maybe some people would have sided with him, including a few people on here. But that would have been a disaster.

Smart fans would realize a one game 'disaster' is much better than a 2 month 'disaster'.

Jpup
01-04-2009, 11:31 PM
One thing's for sure: if Harang spits the bit this season, it'll be blamed on that bullpen appearance.

He was overused and he got hurt. When he got better, he pitched like the guy he really is. The article and some very knowledgeable people on this board have pointed that out since last May. It drives me insane when I see people continuously put down the good players the Reds actually have. I'm not really saying that your are the only one or even one of them, but it's things like this that got Adam Dunn ran out of town on a rail.

reds44
01-04-2009, 11:32 PM
I just don't think there is enough hard evidence to blame it all on the relief appearance.

In the relief appearance, he went 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. He got it handed to him in his next start, then threw a quality start in Philly against the World Champs. Then he got lit up in Florida, before throwing 7 innings of of 4 hit, 1 run baseball with 7 Ks and 0 walks. Was that outing pure luck? Don't forget that his start before the relief appearance the Padres lit him up for 10 hits and 5 runs in 5.1 IP.

I'm not doubting Harang's ability, and I just think he had a down year. I fully expect him to be back to the old Harang this year. I just think he had a down year last year. With that being said, there was very little upside in pitching Harang in that game. 1 out of 162 in May just is not worth the risk.

The best part of that game was CPatt going 0-8.

RedFanAlways1966
01-04-2009, 11:32 PM
Not really. A lot of us were suggesting giving the ball to a position player when both Harang and then Volquez were brought in.

Paul Bako was the only one left. Bako would have to pitch or be used as catcher (as I doubt he can play any other position). Ross had caught the whole game to that point in the game and Valentin had been used and removed (started at 1B b/c he hits Greg Maddux well). If Bako catches, then Ross pitches or plays a fielding position for the other player chosen to pitch. Sticky situation for sure. I ask (out of curiousity) when was the last a position player pitched when a game was tied? You'd think Dusty would be branded if they lose or thought to a genius if they win.

On the otherhand... the position player might have done better pitching than Weathers, Cordero or Bray (the real culprits that day IMO).

Jpup
01-04-2009, 11:35 PM
I just don't think there is enough hard evidence to blame it all on the relief appearance.

In the relief appearance, he went 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. He got it handed to him in his next start, then threw a quality start in Philly against the World Champs. Then he got lit up in Florida, before throwing 7 innings of of 4 hit, 1 run baseball with 7 Ks and 0 walks. Was that outing pure luck? Don't forget that his start before the relief appearance the Padres lit him up for 10 hits and 5 runs in 5.1 IP.

I'm not doubting Harang's ability, and I just think he had a down year. I fully expect him to be back to the old Harang this year.

So maybe he was hurt before the relief outing and it just made it worse. I am not saying that it was totally Dusty's fault, but I am saying that the guy was hurt and that is why he pitched so poorly. Some people think Harang is just that guy that pitched bad for a couple months. Small sample from an injured guy is more likely.

reds44
01-04-2009, 11:38 PM
Paul Bako was the only one left. Bako would have to pitch or be used as catcher (as I doubt he can play any other position). Ross had caught the whole game to that point in the game and Valentin had been used and removed (started at 1B b/c he hits Greg Maddux well). If Bako catches, then Ross pitches or plays a fielding position for the other player chosen to pitch. Sticky situation for sure. I ask (out of curiousity) when was the last a position player pitched when a game was tied? You'd think Dusty would be branded if they lose or thought to a genius if they win.

On the otherhand... the position player might have done better pitching than Weathers, Cordero or Bray (the real culprits that day IMO).
Another blunder was Dusty using Fogg to try to close that game. He burned his long guy which put him in the position that he was in. Fogg should have been the last guy out of the pen, and you live or (most likely) die with him. Instead Dusty puts Fogg in over Bray, watches Fogg start a fire, then brings Bray in, and watches his lead disappear.

reds44
01-04-2009, 11:38 PM
So maybe he was hurt before the relief outing and it just made it worse. I am not saying that it was totally Dusty's fault, but I am saying that the guy was hurt and that is why he pitched so poorly. Some people think Harang is just that guy that pitched bad for a couple months. Small sample from an injured guy is more likely.
One thing is for sure, there's no possible way in which the relief appearance would have helped Harang.

RedFanAlways1966
01-04-2009, 11:44 PM
Another blunder was Dusty using Fogg to try to close that game. He burned his long guy which put him in the position that he was in. Fogg should have been the last guy out of the pen, and you live or (most likely) die with him. Instead Dusty puts Fogg in over Bray, watches Fogg start a fire, then brings Bray in, and watches his lead disappear.

You are correct, reds44. I believe that was the biggest error Dusty made that day (bigger than Harang or Volquez being used). Especially after Fogg gave up a leadoff single (pull him now and get Bray) and allows him to pitch to two more hitters (single, sac bunt). Of course if the $40+ million closer does his job in the 9th, then it is all moot. I guess we can even go further and ask why the hell Josh Fogg was on the roster, but I guess we shouldn't go there in this thread.

reds44
01-04-2009, 11:45 PM
You are correct, reds44. I believe that was the biggest error Dusty made that day (bigger than Harang or Volquez being used). Especially after Fogg gave up a leadoff single (pull him now and get Bray) and allows him to pitch to two more hitters (single, sac bunt). Of course if the $40+ million closer does his job in the 9th, then it is all moot. I guess we can even go further and ask why the hell Josh Fogg was on the roster, but I guess we shouldn't go there in this thread.
And Corey Patterson...

I remember redszone screaming that Fogg was brought in over Bray. That was a long day. Dunn was double switched out too.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2008_05_25_cinmlb_sdnmlb_1&mode=wrap

RedsManRick
01-04-2009, 11:46 PM
The game is in extra innings and Dusty has 2 relievers left. One of them is a short reliever without much of a track record and one of them is a former starter who can go multiple innings with a track record of poor pitching.

Dusty knows that once those two are gone, he's going to have to use starters or position players. Dusty chooses to use the long guy first. After Fogg gives up two hits and a run while getting two outs, he chooses to bring Bray in.

He said to himself "the advantage of Bray facing Giles instead of Fogg is worth the risk that if Bray doesn't succeed, I'll be forced to go to Harang (and whoever else) for an indefinite period of time". To me, this was the moment of Dusty's mistake. Yes, Bray was more likely to get Giles out, but the downside risk was big. He put himself behind the 8 ball, forcing Harang in to the game at least 2 innings earlier than necessary.

Once you bring Fogg in to the game, you have to rely on him for a few innings and maximize his use. Once you get that deep in your bullpen, you manage to minimize the chances of having somebody get hurt and let the cards fall where they may. Dusty took the short view for the sake of a minor advantage and ended up realizing the downside.

Regardless of whether or not that event caused Harang's issues, Dusty mishandled it big time.

MikeS21
01-04-2009, 11:55 PM
I normally would buy the "bullpen outing ruined him" argument, except that I don't think Aaron Harang was typical Aaron Harang from Opening Day last year.

He may have put up typical Aaron Harang numbers, but to sit and watch Harang pitch, it appeared that a LOT of bats were catching up to him early in the year. He looked extremely hittable. He did not seem as overpowering as in previous years and his command was shaky. Harang lost a lot of games that he should have won, and they were games that shouldn't necessarily be blamed on a terrible offense. In fact, when I heard Harang was coming into the game as reliever in San Diego, and read his game stats for that that stint in relief, it appeared to me to be his best outing all year.

Plus, Harang, himself, said that it was his regular day to throw on the side, and he was going to throw sixty or seventy pitches anyway. Why not use them against live hitting?

While it is convenient to blame Dusty Baker, I'm not sure Harang was 100% healthy coming out of spring training.

Jpup
01-05-2009, 12:04 AM
I normally would buy the "bullpen outing ruined him" argument, except that I don't think Aaron Harang was typical Aaron Harang from Opening Day last year.

He may have put up typical Aaron Harang numbers, but to sit and watch Harang pitch, it appeared that a LOT of bats were catching up to him early in the year. He looked extremely hittable. He did not seem as overpowering as in previous years and his command was shaky. Harang lost a lot of games that he should have won, and they were games that shouldn't necessarily be blamed on a terrible offense. In fact, when I heard Harang was coming into the game as reliever in San Diego, and read his game stats for that that stint in relief, it appeared to me to be his best outing all year.

Plus, Harang, himself, said that it was his regular day to throw on the side, and he was going to throw sixty or seventy pitches anyway. Why not use them against live hitting?

While it is convenient to blame Dusty Baker, I'm not sure Harang was 100% healthy coming out of spring training.

maybe what you thought you saw and what you saw were 2 different things? A lot of people tell me that when it comes to certain guys.:)

reds44
01-05-2009, 12:21 AM
Do pitchers throw side sessions before or after games?

remdog
01-05-2009, 12:41 AM
Mike! Where ya' bin'? Good, common sense post, as usual. Drop by more often.

Rem

red-in-la
01-05-2009, 12:57 AM
Ya' know, I don't think anyone is really talking about this particular game here. I know I AM talking about a simple principle.

My ace, never, and I mean ever, for any reason, pitches 4 innings on two days rest unless it is game 7. That principle is what I think almost every other person in the solar system who knows the game is played with a bat and a ball would agree with.

This is NOT 1954 or 1928. Pitchers are multi-million dollar assets and do NOT throw both ends of a DH anymore. It is a billion dollar business and Aaron Harang is a 10 million dollar per year FIXED cost. You can't write him off if you blow out his arm.

What others are pointing out is that Dusty isn't just making a choice like whether to intentionally walk a batter, he is violating a premiss that the enter FO SHOULD agree to.

And that, most of us think this is just something you should never do.

redsfan4445
01-05-2009, 12:59 AM
i was more upset when Baker was asked why he didn't pitch Fogg instead of Harang on 3 days rest , he said it wasnt even discussed.. you mean to tell me, Dick Pole the pitching coach didnt even think about that as well?? goodness.. I would have thought one of the coaches would have looked at that!! I am a fan and thought of it!! I also belive that messed Aaron up as well. Lets hope they dont screw that up on another pitcher in 2009!!

mbgrayson
01-05-2009, 01:25 AM
Harang threw on 2 days rest. Once. In an emergency situation..

Not true. After this 63 pitch extra inning outing, Harang came back on three days rest to pitch again. This was completely preventable, at least let the guy have normal rest after his short rest game....


Even further, was Harang scheduled to throw a side session?

Harang didn't come in until the 13th inning. If he was going to throw a side session, he darn well would have already done it before then in an evening game. It is quite possible that he threw those innings AND a side session. That might have been why he pitched so well that night: he was already warm.

Nobody here is suggesting that Dusty should have forfeited that game. The other real mistake was ealier that night when he used bad pitching combos in the 11th with Bill Bray and Josh Fogg. The result was that Fogg gave up two runs, and came out after only 2/3 of an inning.

Cueto was still left in the bullpen too, but he was scheduled to pitch the next day's game.

There are many examples of position players having to pitch. I don't have the 2008 list yet, but six position players on four different teams toed the rubber at some point in 2007.
Jeff Cirillo - Arizona Diamondbacks
Aaron Miles - St. Louis Cardinals
Augie Ojeda - Arizona Diamondbacks
Scott Spiezio - St. Louis Cardinals
Josh Wilson - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Jason Wood - Florida Marlins

Others have said it, but at the risk of kicking the dead horse one more time, it was just one game, and we really shouldn't risk the ace of our rotation, who had just signed a long term contract, to win one game.

reds44
01-05-2009, 01:31 AM
To be fair..

Cirillo came in down 9-0
Miles came in down 12-1
Ojeada came in down 14-5
Spiezio came in down 14-3
Wilson came in down 14-8
Wood came in down 12-3

None of those games were close or in extra innings. It's easy to throw a position player out there when you are getting your teeth kicked in.

Johnny Footstool
01-05-2009, 01:42 AM
Didn't some of our more baseball-scouting savvy Redszoners notice some problems with Harang's mechanics following the bullpen debacle? I seem to recall one or two people posting that Harang's footwork went bad for a while...

dougdirt
01-05-2009, 01:46 AM
Didn't some of our more baseball-scouting savvy Redszoners notice some problems with Harang's mechanics following the bullpen debacle? I seem to recall one or two people posting that Harang's footwork went bad for a while...

Not only did some here note it, but professional scouts also noted it. Speculation was that it was from compensating from an injury that he ultimately went on the DL for.

RedEye
01-17-2009, 12:33 PM
Harang threw on 2 days rest. Once. In an emergency situation.
I guess my question would be "How much of a risk was it?" Can anyone quantify? Is throwing on 2 days rest a sure death sentence?


I can't quantify the risk of stepping into the line of traffic every time I cross the street. Doesn't mean I'll do it though.

Risk isn't always quantifiable. Sometimes it is just common sense. Throwing your ace on two days rest in a meaningless baseball game defies common sense--regardless of what statistical analysis you use to back it up.

OnBaseMachine
01-21-2009, 03:38 PM
Baseball Prospectus had a nice piece on Harang today. I can't post the whole thing since it's premium but here's the free part. This is a great piece which features a nice breakdown of Harang before and after the relief stint in San Diego.

Dustying Up
Aaron Harang's Extra-Inning Adventure

by Eric Seidman

Quantifying the contributions of a baseball manager is a task even the geekiest of us sometimes struggle to break down. Are there certain decisive standards to which managerial judgments can be compared? How much influence does the front office exert over his strategic choices? In such a role-defined era, which situations would merit the usage of a different reliever to set up the closer? Does the manager define these roles? What types of decisions can a manager actually be credited with, given that most alternatives would act the same? More questions along these lines could be added to the evaluation stew, but one axiom remains the same: the true job of a manager involves putting his players in a position to succeed.

A competent manager will never slot Willie Bloomquist in the cleanup spot. Nor will he allow Ivan Rodriguez to patrol center field. And he definitely would not ask his ace pitcher to throw four innings of relief, on very short rest, in a meaningless early season game when at least one alternative could have logged the same frames.

Wait, scratch that last one, because that hypothetical actually took place, when Dusty Baker called on Aaron Harang to pitch four innings out of the pen in an 18-inning game against the Padres on May 25. Now, Baker's reputation for handling a starting rotation is already about as sterling as Lindsay Lohan's for showing up on time. Justifiably or not, his reputation is directly related to his handling of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, and their subsequent struggles. It should come as no surprise that four of his starters last season—Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, Aaron Harang, and Johnny Cueto—all finished in the senior circuit's top twenty in pitcher abuse points.

Due to the commonly expressed opinion that Harang's disappointing season was a direct result of Baker's relief experiment on May 25, analysts tend to break his workload into the following three segments: Pre-relief Outings (covering the beginning of season through to May 22); Post-relief Outings (May 29 through an arbitrarily selected August 16); and Arbitrary 8/16 Marker through to the end of season (August 22 through September 30). Breaking it up in this way seems to indicate that Harang bookended his season with very solid performances, yet struggled mightily in his starts from 5/29-8/16, posting a 9.06 ERA.


Period GS IP HR/9 BB/9 K/9 ERA
3/31-5/22 11 74.2 1.2 2.2 7.6 3.50
5/29-8/16 10 51.2 2.8 3.3 7.5 9.06
8/22-9/30 8 54 1.5 2.0 6.3 2.83

There's a problem with this tidy arrangement, however. A slight adjustment needs to be made in order to more accurately reflect what happened to Harang in-season, because he suffered an injury near the flexor mass in his right forearm, shelving the ace from July 9 through August 9. In the segment markers noted above, the middle period of ineffectiveness includes two of his starts that occurred after the time spent on the disabled list. The more relevant divisions would be: Pre-relief Outings (4/4-5/22); Post-relief outings to DL (5/29-7/9); and Post-DL (8/10-9/30). This shift takes two hot-off-the-DL starts that some prefer to cobble together with his earlier mid-period struggles (making the mid-period appear worse and the end-season better), and adds the 16 earned runs given up in 7 1/3 innings to the more appropriate end-season side of the mix.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8429