Slider Slingin Harden Stifles Bucs


Former Oakland A Rich Harden was filthy tonight for the Cubs.  Harden came in with a 4.95 ERA and promptly struck out nine and walked just one.  He scattered nine hits over seven innings.  The Bucs had their opportunities, but their hitting was anything but timely.

 Freddy Sanchez proved to be a rally killer in two key opportunities.  He left the bases loaded in the fifth and then hit one back to the mound to start a double play in the seventh inning. 

The Bucs generated eight hits in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.  One run was scored.  It was interesting enough to dig up some stats…the Bucs have the third best team batting average in the NL, but are eighth in runs scored.  (They have the seventh best on base percentage)

I had to do some digging on Harden’s final numbers last year too.  When he is healthy, he appears as one the toughest right handers in our division.  He held opponents to a .157 batting average while posting a .97WHIP last year.  He elevated that fastball into the 96 mph range last night and then came back with that changeup low in the zone.  It was just too much for the Pirates bats.

Speaking of our division….The Pirates fell to 10-22 in the division last night.  Gulp.  So against the rest of MLB we are 25-19?

Trade buzz all over the place…Zach Duke?  Phillies scout in the stands…