It’s been a season to forget for the Philadelphia Phillies, perhaps more so for Aaron Harang than most.
Looking to avoid becoming the major league’s first 14-game loser, Harang tries to shake off his woes for one start at least as the Phillies try to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Sunday.
Despite the 5-13 record and 4.52 ERA, this isn’t Harang’s worst year. He lost a major league high-tying 17 games in 2008 pitching for Cincinnati and also dropped 14 with the Reds the following year. His season has encapsulated that of the Phillies (46-71), who lost 4-2 on Saturday and have the worst record in the majors.
Harang has lost back-to-back starts and 10 of his last 11, with the lone non-defeat a victory over Atlanta on July 30. He is trying to avoid becoming the first pitcher to lose 11 times in a 12-start span since Ricky Romero dropped 13 of 14 for Toronto in 2012, and the last Phillies pitcher to be saddled with such a dubious distinction was Kyle Abbott, who went 0-11 in his first 12 starts in 1992.
It was another outing to forget for Harang on Monday – the Diamondbacks tagged him for a season high-tying eight runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 13-3 loss. Opponents are batting .278 with a .780 OPS, the fourth-highest in the NL in both categories.
"There were some really good pitches that I threw that were getting hit hard," Harang said. "They were too comfortable up there. Way too comfortable."
The Brewers (50-68) established that season high July 1, defeating Harang and the Phillies 9-5 as they knocked him around for 14 hits in five-plus innings. Harang, who has won his last two starts at Miller Park, is trying to avoid becoming the 15th pitcher with three 14-loss seasons since the wild-card era began in 1995.
Scooter Gennett had his first four-hit game and two RBIs for Milwaukee, which has outscored Philadelphia 35-22 in winning all six games this year.
"He swung the bat well," manager Craig Counsell told MLB’s official website. "He had a big hit and was getting on base."
While Harang has 13 losses, rookie Taylor Jungmann (6-4, 2.42) is making his 13th start, but in a similar position as Harang in looking to bounce back from a defeat.
The righty was reached for four runs – two earned – and five hits in 2 2/3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. It was the shortest outing of Jungmann’s brief career as he was lifted after throwing 81 pitches.
"It was just one of those games," he said. "I’ve had other games like this, but I made an adjustment. Tonight I wasn’t able to make the adjustment in game. You can’t make pitches in 2-0 counts, 3-0 counts. They’re sitting on stuff."
Jungmann did not get a decision versus Philadelphia on June 30, giving up three runs in six innings of Milwaukee’s 4-3 win.
While Phillies second baseman Chase Utley – hitting .500 with a homer and five doubles in seven games since coming off the disabled list – continues to weigh potential trade options, third baseman Maikel Franco will sit out a fourth straight game with a bruised wrist and use the off-day Monday as extra time to heal.