(Photo: Mark Lyons/Getty Images) For the fifth
consecutive year, right-hander Aaron Harang will open the season for the
Cincinnati Reds. After two considerably bad years (6-17 in '08 and 6-14 in
'09), Harang will attempt to reestablish himself as the Reds' ace in 2010.
His previous two 6 win seasons followed two 16 win seasons ('06-'07) and two
10+ win seasons ('04-'05). During his first year with the Reds in '03 he
posted a 4-3 record after being acquired in a trade with the Oakland
Athletics for Jose Guillen.
Harang's struggles the past two seasons jeopardized this year's Opening Day
nod. Many believed that Bronson Arroyo, according to his numbers (15-11 in
'08 and 15-13 in '09), would get the ball on Opening Day. While Harang's
record went significantly down during those two years, Bronson's seemed to
stay consistent to his two 14 win seasons in '05 and '06. Here is what
Arroyo had to say about pitching on opening day.
"I’d rather enjoy that day and soak in all the festivities,” Arroyo said,
“then pitch the next day or the day after that. It’s not a big deal for me
to pitch in the 1 hole. I pitched in the 5 hole in Boston. I ended up
throwing against five No. 1s in one season. Once you get a rainout, one off
day, somebody’s a little sore and they get bumped back a day, matchups don’t
matter — until you get to the playoffs."
"I’ve always said no matter what his record is the last couple of years,
Aaron is better equipped in that role anyway. His stuff never changes. On
the days he doesn’t succeed, he’s still 90, 92 with his slider. He doesn’t
vary a lot. For me, I feel like when my days are bad, they’re really, really
bad. My stuff isn’t as consistent.”
It's definitely hard to argue with that. Although Arroyo didn't turn down
the start, he made his opinion about Opening Day and teammate Aaron Harang
Let's take a look at Aaron Harang's previous Opening Day starts.
April 3rd, 2006 vs. Chicago/ Reds lose 7-16/ 5ip 9h 6er 3so 1hr
April 2nd, 2007 vs. Chicago/ Reds win 5-1/ 7ip 6h 0er 5so
March 31st, 2008 vs. Arizona/ Reds lose 2-4/ 6ip 3h 2er 6so 2hr
April 6th, 2009 vs. New York/ Reds lose 1-2/ 5ip 7h 1er 2so 1hr
This year he will face the St. Louis Cardinals. His fifth consecutive
opening day start ties him for the club record with Pete Donohue (1923-27)
and Mario Soto (1982-1986). Soto holds the club record of six. Here's what
the humble Harang had to say about starting on Opening Day this year.
“Dusty let me know
yesterday. I’m excited about it. It is an honor to get to start Opening Day
“I went in and told Bake: I want the ball. If you’re giving it to anybody, I
want it. We talked about it. Everybody talks about matchups. After the first
week of the season matchups don’t mean anything. Rotations get changed up
all the time.”
After Harang the rotation will be Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey
and (fill in the blank).