Whether it was looked at on paper or video or basically anywhere else, nobody would think that a matchup between Aaron Harang and Philadelphia Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels would be a pitching duel. The fact is that Harang made the game close by battling through the Phillies lineup even though he kept getting into trouble. Once again Harang proved that he can battle with the best of the best. Fredi Gonzalez, Frank Wren and the rest of the Atlanta Braves’ people have to be incredibly happy with the return on their investment in Harang.
As the regular season gets to be more and more competitive down the stretch run, Harang might be the key factor in the Braves competing with the Washington Nationals and everyone else. Julio Teheran is going to be great. Most can expect good returns from Ervin Santana and Alex Wood as well. Mike Minor is only one adjustment away from being effective but has not been thus far. If Harang can continue to be such an impressive factor for the Braves starting rotation, it could be one of the best moves in recent team history.
Sometimes even a loss can be a good thing. That was the case on Saturday night for the Braves. Sure, they lost to the Phillies but they gained even more promising knowledge about their pitching staff. Sometimes against someone like Hammels, one bad pitch can beat you. That’s what happened on Saturday but more than that, someone who was thought to be done for as recently as a year ago matched zeroes with an ace. Hats off to Harang for hanging in there and keeping the Braves in the game for six innings. If he does that for the rest of the season, the Braves will likely win the division.