Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Braves vs. Reds: RHP Aaron Harang vs. RHP Alfredo Simon

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Atlanta Braves (68-62) vs. Cincinnati Reds (62-68)

 

RHP Aaron Harang (10-7, 3.50 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, .269 OAV) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (12-8, 3.35 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .245 OAV)

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014: 1:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park

 

 

Once again returning to the only stadium he can truly call home, Aaron Harang will take to the hill at Great American Ball Park. Since his departure in 2010, Harang has yet to play with the same franchise in back-to-back seasons. After leading the league in wins in 2006, he suddenly led the Major Leagues in losses in 2008. Still highly regarded around Reds Country, Harang will be welcomed back with cheers, and surely a standing ovation.

 

In context, this may be the greatest year of Aaron Harang’s 13-year baseball career. When with the Reds, he was in the “prime” of his baseball life, but at age 36 as a member of the Atlanta Braves, Harang is tossing gem after gem.

 

Nine of his last 11 starts have been quality ones, even considering his fastball tops out in the high-80s, low-90s. Not once all year long as his ERA begun with anything higher than a three, a true testament to the consistency which Harang provides.

 

Against his former club, Harang has been nothing short of dominant. In four starts against the Redlegs, he is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA. No matter if it has been as a member of the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Mets, Harang gets himself psyched up for Cincinnati.

 

Sitting at 38-39 all-time inside GABP, the Reds hope that they can delay that number in the left-hand column from evening up.

 

Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

 

CF – Billy Hamilton (yet to face Harang)

3B – Todd Frazier (2-for-8, 2 2B’s, 2 K’s)

2B – Brandon Phillips (1-for-8, 1 BB, 1 K)

C – Devin Mesoraco (2-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB)

RF – Jay Bruce (0-for-8, 1 BB, 2 K’s)

LF – Ryan Ludwick (14-for-39, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 K’s)

1B – Brayan Pena (yet to face Harang)

SS – Zack Cozart (1-for-8, 1 BB, 1 K)

P – Alfredo Simon (yet to face Harang)

 

* * *

 

Nearly matching the gigantic Harang in stature, whatever Simon may be lacking, he makes up for with pure velocity. Still slinging the ball around the zone at 95+ MPH, he just needs a better idea of where the ball is going.

 

Like countless other teams he has faced in 2014, Simon will be making his first start of his career against Atlanta. In five career relief appearances spanning 8.1 innings, he has posted a sparkling 1.08 ERA with eight strikeouts.

 

Much like his good buddy Johnny Cueto, Simon is a fan of pitching in the bright sunshine. With an ERA at 4.19 during night games in 2014, Simon turns up the intensity when the sun is out, producing a 2.27 ERA.

 

Still in search of that ever elusive first win of the second half, Simon will have to outduel a Reds great in order to claim it.

 

Here is the lineup he will face via the team’s Twitter account:

 

RF – Jason Heyward (0-for-1)

SS – Phil Gosselin (yet to face Simon)

1B – Freddie Freeman (0-for-2, 1 K)

LF – Justin Upton (1-for-4, 1 K)

3B – Chris Johnson (0-for-4, 2 K’s)

C – Evan Gattis (yet to face Simon)

2B – Tommy La Stella (yet to face Simon)

CF – B.J. Upton (2-for-12, 2 2B’s, 6 RBI, 2 K’s)

P – Aaron Harang (yet to face Simon)

 

* * *

 

Now that the losing drought has come to a conclusion, the Reds can re-focus on making one last final push towards playoff contention. The long, winding journey up the road continues on Sunday afternoon with Simon locking horns with Harang.

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Tags: Aaron Harang Alfredo Simon Atlanta Braves Cincinnati Reds

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