Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recap of Reds-Nationals at Nationals Park on June 4

I'm posting this very late because of some computer problems, but I actually got to see the Reds play last Friday night.  (You'll also have to forgive me if some of the details were a bit blurry.)  The Reds were in town to play the Nationals in their only trip to DC this year.  (I hate the unbalanced schedule!)  The Nationals won 4-2, but I was long gone by then.  Five-year-olds can only take so much.

The pitching matchup for the night featured Aaron Harang and Livan Hernandez.  In the sabermetric community, Livan has been the poster-child for luck this season, and on this night, he was only OK.  Of course, Harang was much less than that.  He was just awful, despite allowing only two runs.  In the second inning, with 2 out, Harang walked Hernandez in what I recall was just an atrocious at bat for Harang.  Christian Guzman made Harang pay when he followed with a single, plating Ian Desmond from second.  Walking the pitcher is just inexcusable.  For what it's worth, Harang learned his lesson.  The next time Hernandez was up - leading off the fourth - Harang threw him a meatball that Hernandez promptly hit right back up the middle for a single.  I'd have felt a lot better about the run scoring in the second had it been because Hernandez got a hit, instead of giving him a walk.

If I recall, Harang had thrown an astonishing 80 pitches in just 3 innings when he came to bat in the fourth.  He was so bad that my uncle and I had a very serious discussion about whether the Reds should pinch hit for Harang at that point.  The discussion lost some of its luster when Ramon Hernandez, hitting in front of Harang, killed a great scoring opportunity by grounding into a double play.  With two out and Johnny Gomes on third, Harang hit for himself.  He got through the fourth inning and finished the night with 98 pitches in only 4 innings, yet exiting with the score tied at 2 (after the Reds scored to tie it up in the top of the fifth).  His stat line just did not do justice to how bad he was.

On the other side, Livan Hernandez was solid, but not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination.  He threw nothing but junk, but the powerful Reds offense really struggled against it.  I saw him hit 87 on the ballpark gun one time (as he struck out Jay Bruce to end the third, if I recall correctly), but I saw him drop down as low as 61 with a stunning array of absolutely nothing.  For six innings, it worked like a charm.  He got ground balls when he needed them.  He allowed just a single extra base hit (a double to Gomes).  It felt like he was stranding runners all night long.

All in all, it was hard to watch.  Especially for a certain five-year-old I know.

Ultimately, it wasn't a

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