Tagged: Rich Harden

Is Rich Harden Pitching in God Mode?

*The following is a post taken from The Angry Bench Coach, my new blog. Please visit the site there at http://www.ballhouse.blogspot.com.*

For those of you who haven’t been following Rich Harden lately, be prepared to
be amazed. Harden, who busted onto the scene with the A’s in 2004 — which was
also the last time he started more than 20 games — has returned, and is
pitching in rare form, (which means he is pitching in real major league games,
as opposed to those mysterious simulated games.) He spent five weeks on the
sidelines this year with a strained right shoulder earlier in the season.
Shortly after his return, he was traded to the Cubs. And Harden has managed to
remain healthy for a solid three months now, and things seem to be back on
track.

Most importantly, Harden is owning the National League. Now, we know
that the when a pitcher and batter face each other for the first time, the
advantage generally lies with the pitcher. And this is why pitchers, when
changing leagues, tend to perform better, (see Bronson Arroyo.) In four
starts with the Cubs, Harden’s stats are as follows:

  DEC IP HA ER BBA SO
SF 5.1 5 0 3 10
ARI L 7.0 1 1 2 10
FLA 5.0 2 1 3 10
MIL W 7.0 6 1 0 9
TOTAL 1-1 24.1 14 3 8 39

Those are pretty impressive numbers. Simply put, since joining the
National League, Harden has gone off on NL batters. Especially with the
14.43K/9IP. The 1.11 ERA and the 0.91
WHIP
? These are God numbers. Overall, Harden’s season numbers
aren’t that far off the mark either. Despite having pitched 61 fewer innings
than strikeout leader CC Sabathia, (101 v. 162), Harden has just 26 fewer
strikeouts, (131 v. 157). Harden’s season ERA is 2.04, and his WHIP is 1.09. And
of course, that 11.64K/9IP. (Scott Kazmir is in 2nd place among full time
starters, with 9.95K/9IP.) Opponents are batting .196 against him. Let me repeat
that — when you go up against Rich Harden, you are essentially a Mendoza Line
Hitter.

Quite frankly, Mr. Harden is spewing fire out of his right arm. And if that
shoulder stays intact, the Cubs would do well to sign this man for a very, very
long time, (he is only 26). Now that Dusty Baker is out, they can count on
actually being able to use the arms that they sign in the future. As far as I am
aware, Lou Pinella doesn’t have a strange habit of throwing his young pitchers
out there for 130 pitches each start until their arm flies towards home plate,
(see Kerry Wood; Mark Prior.)

Remember Mark Prior? – April 8th, 2007

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