The Reds may have already run out of patience with Aaron Harang

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The Reds are still in very good shape in the NL Central, but they aren’t about to rest on their laurels.

Including today’s loss to the Rockies, Aaron Harang has allowed seven runs — five earned — with a lousy 3/6 K/BB ratio over his first two starts since coming off the disabled list. After failing to make it through five innings in either outing, Reds manager Dusty Baker told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he will soon make a decision about whether Harang will remain in the starting rotation.

“Yeah, pretty soon,” Baker said. “We’ll discuss things and see. We
can’t have these short outings. That puts pressure on my bullpen for the
ensuing days after that.”

It just so happened that Edinson Volquez pitched on the same turn Monday with Single-A Dayton, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings while walking three and striking out 10.

Volquez was sent to the minors last week in order to work on his mechanics. One year removed from Tommy John surgery, he has a 6.17 ERA and 36/27 K/BB ratio over seven starts with the Reds this season. Volquez isn’t exactly a stable option at the moment, but he’s looking like the logical choice to get the call against the Pirates this weekend.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.