With a long season in mind, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez pulled Aaron Harang from his last start with a no-hitter intact.
A solid outing from the right-hander Wednesday at home against the Miami Marlins could help further justify the move as both teams look for a series win and continued dominance from their starting staffs.
"You look back and appreciate those things where your manager is looking out for you and taking care of you, making sure you’re going to make your next start and many more starts throughout the season," Harang told the team’s official website.
Harang (3-1, 0.70 ERA) threw 121 pitches, walked six and struck out five in seven hitless innings of Friday’s 6-0 road win over the New York Mets before turning things over to the bullpen, which allowed one hit in the final two frames.
"I want to see him throw a no-hitter, but I think you get to a point where you have to worry about 25 more starts," Gonzalez said of the 35-year-old Harang, who has taken no-hit bids into the seventh in two of four starts this season.
"You have to worry about his longevity and all of that kind of stuff. I think we made the right decision. It doesn’t matter who comes in and tells me different."
Harang’s untouchable effort was an extension of his previous three impressive starts. The first-year Braves hurler has held opponents to a .110 average and has allowed two hits or less in three outings.
Harang has never done that to the Marlins. In 13 career starts, he owns a 5-4 record and 6.26 ERA.
Gonzalez has received plenty of top-notch outings from his rotation. The Braves (13-7), however, came out on the wrong end of Tuesday’s 1-0 pitchers’ duel with the Marlins (10-11).
Jose Fernandez held Atlanta to three hits in eight innings while striking out 14 to better Alex Wood, who allowed a run and four hits in eight innings while fanning 11.
Giancarlo Stanton doubled and scored the only run on Casey McGehee’s single. Stanton is 1 for his last 15 and is batting .175 against Braves pitching since the start of 2013.
The Braves’ rotation has given up more than two earned runs just once this season on its way to an MLB-best 1.50 ERA.
The Marlins’ starting staff has been even better lately with a 0.93 ERA in the last seven games. They’re 5-2 after losing eight straight and have finally won their first road game of 2014 after dropping their first seven, a franchise record.
Miami sends Nathan Eovaldi to continue the success. The 24-year-old right-hander hasn’t flirted with no-hitters, but his control has been outstanding with a 7.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio (23-3).
Eovaldi (1-1, 3.55 ERA) allowed three runs – one earned – in six innings of Friday’s 8-4 home win over Seattle but didn’t factor into the decision.
He’s 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA against the Braves in six career starts, including 15 scoreless innings in his two 2013 outings against them.
Miami left fielder Christian Yelich, who led off Tuesday’s game with a bunt single, has a 16-game hitting streak.
A night after hitting a walkoff homer, Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis went 0 for 3 and is in a 2-for-19 slump. Miami shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria went 0 for 3 and is 4 for his last 30.
Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones is 6 for 13 with a home run off Harang.