Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dusty's Decisions May Have Doomed Harang

In the world of sports it doesn't take much for a player in any sport to lose it. Ask Jake Delhomme, Steve Blass, Jim Everett, Chuck Knoblauch, or Steve Sax. They were mental cases to say the least. Some are derailed by a strange coaching decision, like keeping a star player in a blow out game. San Diego Padres pitcher Aaron Harang was doomed by the latter.

When Harang was with the Cincinnati Reds, he says a relief appearance back in 2008 against, how ironic, the Padres, his current team. It was an extra innings game and Harang was summoned in by manager Dusty Baker, he of the weird pitching decisions. Harang pitched well in that game, but in his next outing, a start against the Pirates, he gave up six runs in four innings. You know Baker has ruined a pitcher before so this is nothing new.

Sometimes you need to conserve a pitcher for the long haul instead of using him for an early season extra inning game, especially if that pitcher is a starter that eats up a lot of innings for you. But you know Dusty, he consulted the wristbands and the wristbands told him to put in Harang.

"What it did," Harang said of the relief appearance to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "is fatigue me beyond the point of recovery. I started to change my arm angle to compensate for the fatigue and that’s when my forearm started to bother me. I feel like I’ve never been able to get back to the consistent, repetitive mechanics that I had," he continued. "The last couple of years have been, 'Try this, try that. Move your arm angle out a little.' I’ve had a couple of my old coaches call me, asking, 'What are you doing? You had so much success before doing the same thing. Now, all of a sudden, you’re turning your back on that?' "I got away from my main thing, which is throwing my fastball and throwing everything off that. I got to thinking I’m going to trick people and it just didn’t work."

I know the bottom line in sports in general is wins and losses. Sometimes you have to let one go early for long term success. The short term gain wasn't worth it for the Reds or Harang that season. Now Harang is working to get back to his old self while Dusty gets to possibly ruin Edinson Volquez or Aroldis Chapman.

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