Saturday, April 19, 2014
Mets muster just one hit off Harang, Braves
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- Aaron Harang nearly stole the headlines on Ike Davis' last day as a member of the New York Mets.
Harang pitched seven no-hit innings against the Amazin's on Friday night at Citi Field before exiting the game due to a high pitch count.
The Atlanta Braves bullpen couldn't finish it off, however. Reliever Luis Avilan gave up a two-out single to David Wright in the bottom of the eighth inning. That was the only hit of the night for New York in a 6-0 Atlanta victory.
"His [stuff] was moving everywhere," Wright said. "He brought any pitch in any count -- throwing two-seamers, cutters, sliders, curveballs, changeups -- you name it, he was throwing it and felt comfortable in any count."
The 35-year-old Harang needed 121 pitches to get through seven frames, making Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's decision pretty easy. At that pace, he would have needed to throw 156 pitches to complete the game.
Harang walked six batters, including two in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh, but he didn't make any big mistakes.
"The one thing about Aaron, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes on the plate," Mets manager Terry Collins said afterward. "He misses off the sides, and that’s why he’s pitched so well so far. When he started getting fatigued, he wasn’t making mistakes on the dish."
Collins & Co. are very familiar with Harang. After all, he made four starts for the Mets last September, following his release by the Seattle Mariners.
He did a good job in New York despite not having a lot to show for it, going 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA. But the job he is doing with Atlanta this season is off the charts.
The Braves signed him for $1 million near the end of spring training after he was released by the Cleveland Indians, and he's now 3-1 with a 0.70 earned run average -- the best ERA in the major leagues.
"You could just tell how confident he was in his stuff," Wright said. "And we know that he can pitch. We saw that he can pitch and the way that he prepares. He finds a hitter's weakness and really attacks it."
The Mets have not been no-hit since the Houston Astros pulled it off on Sept. 8, 1993, thanks to the late Darryl Kile. This was the closest call since, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Twenty-five MLB teams have been no-hit at least once since that day. The only other teams that haven't are the Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs.
Friday was the 35th time the Mets have been held to just one hit. That most recently happened just last season, on Sept. 9, when Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez went the distance in a 9-0 victory by the Nationals.