When things are going well 91 pitches will usually get a starting pitcher into the 7th or 8th inning, but if you are Aaron Harang, for whom little has gone well this spring, 91 pitches didn’t even get him through the 5th inning in Wednesday’s ugly 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium.
Harang’s latest undoing, however, wasn’t entirely his fault, as he received little help from defense which committed 2 errors accounted for two unearned runs; however he was once again his own worst enemy by allowing a home run to Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain – the 5th home run allowed by Harang this spring.
Harang was relieved by Matt Guerrier who went two innings and also gave up a long ball, this one by Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas. Guerrier was followed by Kevin Gregg and he, too, allowed a home run to second baseman Johnny Giavotella. Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th innings respectively, but by then the game was well out of reach.
On the positive side, Yasiel Puig continued his torrid spring going 2 for 2 with a triple, a single and a sacrifice fly raising his average to an incredible .521 with a team-leading 11 RBIs.
Matt Kemp went 1 for 3 on the day with a single and a stolen base, his second of the spring. He eventually came around to score on Puig’s sacrifice fly.
With the fate of injured Dodger shortstop Hanley Ramirez unknown, the Dodgers find themselves in a precarious position with less than two weeks before opening day. Should Ramirez’s injury prove to be as bad as some are speculating, he could be lost for upwards of 12 weeks. This, coupled with Harang’s and Ted Lilly’s horrible spring training, could force the Dodgers to shop the pair around for a replacement shortstop. Unfortunately, because Harang and Lilly have relatively little trade value, the Dodgers could be forced to include one (or more) of their top prospects to make any potential trade more attractive to teams looking for pitching help. Harang is owed $7 million for the 2013 season and Lilly $12 million.
Needless to say, things are going to get interesting around Dodger camp in the next two weeks, that’s for sure.