06/27/2002 02:32 am ET
Harang, Moyer locked in 1-0 classic
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Aaron Harang and Jamie Moyer put on an absolute clinic on the art of
pitching Wednesday night, but you'd be hard pressed to find two instructors so
Harang is a 24-year-old rookie righthander who stands 6-foot-6 and tips the
scales in the neighborhood of 240 pounds. Moyer is a 39-year-old lefty in his
16th season of big-league ball, and he's listed at 6-0, 175.
Harang goes right at guys, often finishing them off with high heat. Moyer is a
nibbler, deftly painting various edges of the strike zone with an assortment of
offspeed stuff that seems to lull hitters to sleep.
But as proved by the third game of this series, a 1-0 classic claimed by the
Mariners, pitching is a little bit like golf in that it's not how; it's
As in runs, and for Harang and Moyer it was zero. Baseball can be unfair in so
many ways, but there was something so right about neither man having to take the
"Tonight was an old-fashioned pitcher's duel," Harang said. "We were just going
back and forth."
Given the competition, Harang's sixth big-league start was probably his best. He
made his debut against Tampa Bay on May 25 and struck out 10 over seven shutout
innings, but dominating a last-place team is one thing. Doing it to a
first-place team on the road is quite another. He worked 6 1/3 innings
Wednesday, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out six.
"I kept the ball down in the zone more tonight than in my first start," he said.
"Against Tampa Bay I was working pretty high. I felt good both days, but today I
did a better job of getting the ball down."
Only once did a Seattle baserunner get past second base while Harang was on the
mound. That was in the fifth, and he got out of the mini-jam -- runners at the
corners, two out -- by getting the Mariners' most dangerous hitter, Ichiro
Suzuki, on a harmless grounder to third.
That was just the latest display of his uncanny poise. In the first inning he
broke Jeff Cirillo's bat with a fastball, resulting in a soft popup to the right
of the mound, but Harang whiffed on the catch, and the ball bounced off his foot
and into foul ground for an embarrassing error. After berating himself briefly,
he struck out John Olerud and Ruben Sierra to end the inning.
"That's what he's shown us ever since he got here," said A's manager Art Howe.
"Nothing fazes him."
Moyer's 354th career start was equally uneventful on the basepaths. He too
surrendered just two singles, and although he walked four over seven innings,
the A's never got anyone past second. His soft-serve style left the A's as
admiring as they were frustrated.
"That's what he does so well ... he's got like three different changeups," said
outfielder Adam Piatt, who went 0-for-3. "I think I only saw two fastballs from
him all night. ... He makes it look so easy. He looks like he can pitch until
he's 65 years old. He can do it forever."
Added Howe: "Typical Moyer. He throws below hitting speed."
A's righthander Tim Hudson, who knows a little something about good pitching, had one of the best seats in the house for the Harang vs. Moyer battle
and said that he and his fellow moundsmen were suitably impressed.
"We appreciate it because we understand how tough it is to put up zero after
zero, especially against a team like Seattle," he said. "And Aaron was just as
tough as Moyer. I know the typical fan likes to see runs and long balls and a
bunch of offense, but games like this are fun for us to watch.
"It's just rare to see a well-pitched game on both sides. And this was that all
Mychael Urban covers the Oakland A's for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This report was not subject
to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.