After watching their respective teams struggle at the plate again, they may not be too optimistic about their chances of finally getting some offensive help Thursday afternoon.
Harang and Davis will oppose each other as the Cincinnati Reds host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a decisive series finale, with each pitcher trying to avoid tying the major league lead with a ninth loss.
Harang (5-8, 3.95 ERA) threw at least seven innings while allowing three runs or fewer eight times this season, but managed only four wins in those starts. That’s largely because Cincinnati (38-38) has scored 3.95 runs per game for him.
The right-hander, however, has little room to gripe when compared with Davis (3-8, 3.28). The left-hander lasted at least seven innings while yielding two earned runs or fewer seven times in 16 starts, but won only two of them.
He pitched seven outstanding innings in each of his last two outings but didn’t get a decision in either game. Davis gave up one run in a 3-2 loss at Seattle on June 21, and allowed only an earned run as the Diamondbacks fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.
“He certainly deserves a better record,” manager A.J. Hinch told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “One of the positives of 3-8 is that it means he’s been in for a lot of decisions and he’s been pitching late into games. He’s pitched well and he’s had the type of career where he gets a lot of decisions, he pitches deep in games.”
The two pitchers couldn’t have been encouraged by what they saw from their teams Wednesday. The Reds mustered one run despite getting nine hits, while Arizona (31-47) was held to two singles in a 1-0 loss.
“It’s frustrating,” Hinch said. “We were in position to put a couple of good at-bats together, and we didn’t.”
Davis is 6-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 15 starts against Cincinnati, but his most recent outing at Great American Ball Park didn’t go well. He walked six and gave up three runs and four hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss April 3, 2008.
Davis has never faced Reds slugger Joey Votto(notes), who has picked up where he left off prior to missing 21 games while battling depression and anxiety. Votto is 10 for 25 with a homer and five RBIs in his last six games and drove in the only run Wednesday.
Harang is 4-3 with a 2.87 ERA at home and 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA in five afternoon starts, but he’ll need to pitch much better than he did in his latest outing. He gave up seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits over 4 2-3 innings of a 9-2 loss at Cleveland on Friday.
Harang has been plagued by a lack of run support throughout his career when facing Arizona. He has a 1.66 ERA in eight starts against the Diamondbacks, but went 2-4 in those games.
Arizona center fielder Chris Young, batting .195 on the season and playing through a groin injury, is 3 for 9 with two homers against Harang.