When the Dodgers signed Aaron Harang on December 8 of last year, there wasn’t an overflow of excitement bubbling up inside of me. In fact, in my preview for the 2012 season, I wrote the following about the move:
While many will point to his ERA as a sign that he still has something left in the tank, we also have to remember that the 33-year-old pitched in the friendly confines of Petco Park last season.
Luckily the team will not rely on Harang to make or break their season. He’ll be an average bottom-of-the-rotation starter whose ERA will hover between 4.10-4.30.
In fact, I even began the article by saying the signing was, “underwhelming at best.”
Well, here on July 26, 2012, I want to issue a wholehearted apology to the man I’ve come to affectionately know as the Harangatang, because I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Here are the four Dodger starters’ statistics since April 30:
Pitcher A: 15 starts, 95.1 innings, 2.83 ERA, 11 quality starts, 1.13 WHIP, record: 7-5
Pitcher B: 16 starts, 110 innings, 3.51 ERA, 11 quality starts, 1.13 WHIP, record: 5-6
Pitcher C: 15 starts, 90.1 innings, 2.67 ERA, 10 quality starts, 1.27 WHIP, record: 6-3
Pitcher D: 14 starts, 90 innings, 4.30 ERA, 6 quality starts, 1.40 WHIP, record: 3-8
Now take a second and guess which Dodger pitcher matches up with each stat line.
One more second.
In fact, the answer is: Pitcher A = Capuano, Pitcher B = Kershaw, Pitcher C = Harang and Pitcher D = Billingsley.
Yes, the pitcher with the best ERA on the Dodgers over the past three months has been none other than the Harangatang. While many times his starts aren’t pretty, the guy simply has been getting the job done for the Dodgers without much fanfare.
He rarely has dominated, allowing no runs in just two of his 20 starts this season, and yet, he has allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his last 15 starts.
So as the Dodgers go out in search of a new starting pitcher in the next few days, while many have assumed that it’s Harang whose spot is in jeopardy, it’s time to think again. The two guys many people (myself included) assumed would be mediocre starters (Capuano and Harang) have actually been the team’s two most reliable guys nearly all season.
So there it is, as tough as it can be to admit I was wrong, the Harangatang needed an apology. While I’ve been driving the bandwagon for the past few months (mostly because he’s got the best nickname on the team), I’m here to say there’s plenty of room left and if the Dodgers are going to make a run this October, you better jump on now.