The Reds look for their sixth consecutive series win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
“Now we join all the division leaders and playoff teams that have 90-plus,” manager Dusty Baker said. “That was big. Usually that’s my goal every year but especially this year. Most of the time if you can get 90, you’ll be somewhere in the playoff hunt. Usually 90 is that magic number.”
Baker has yet to announce his starting rotation for the postseason, but things became clearer Saturday. Aaron Harang was announced as the starter Sunday in place of Edinson Volquez(notes), who will open Game 1 of the NL division series.
Harang (6-7, 5.25 ERA) has had a difficult season, posting his highest ERA and lowest strikeout total (79) since 2003.
The right-hander’s most recent start was his shortest of the season, as he allowed four hits and four runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss to Colorado on Sept. 6.
He has since been used twice out of the bullpen, including Sept. 22 against the Brewers in which he allowed six hits and three runs over two innings.
Harang is 5-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 19 career starts against Milwaukee, and will try to leave a lasting impression on the Reds’ front office as he hopes to be added to the playoff roster
“I haven’t heard anything,” Harang, a two-time 16-game winner, told the Reds’ official website. “There’s nothing I can really do about it. It’s up to Dusty (Baker), Bryan Price and Walt Jocketty to figure out the best possible players to take.”
While the Reds (90-71) will play beyond Sunday, Milwaukee (77-84) will end its second consecutive season below the .500 mark, and could be in line for some major offseason changes.
Two-time All Star Prince Fielder(notes), who is hitting .171 against the Reds this season, could be playing his last game in a Milwaukee uniform if the Brewers choose to move the arbitration-eligible slugger.
Rickie Weeks(notes) could also be in line for a significant raise, and might not be back with the club next season. Weeks holds Milwaukee’s single-season record for runs scored by a second baseman with 111 this year.
Ryan Braun, who leads the team with a .305 average and ranks second with 103 RBIs, is already looking ahead to 2011.
“Our goal is not just to be competitive, it’s to get back to the postseason,” he told the Brewers’ official website. “There’s no doubt the potential’s there to get back where we want to be.”
The left-hander is 6-2 with a 2.66 ERA over his previous 10 starts, including a 13-1 victory over the Reds on Sept. 22. in which he limited them to four hits and one run over six innings.
Wolf is 10-2 with a 3.09 ERA against Cincinnati all time, with his last loss coming April 12, 2004.