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Join SI.com's James Quintong in a discussion of some of the latest news in football, baseball and other sports and how it relates to fantasy teams and leagues.
7/24/2007 04:09:00 PM

Aaron's way

Aaron Harang
Aaron Harang's 10-inning outing vaulted him to the NL lead in both strikeouts and innings pitched.
For fantasy players, it's Aaron Harang, not Hank Aaron, who's on the top of mind these days. While he ended up with a no-decision on Monday night, it's hard not to admire the 10-inning, one-run, 10-strikeout performance against the first-place Brewers. Harang once again has quietly put up solid stats (10-2, 3.45 ERA, NL-best 138 K's) that seemingly only fantasy owners are really aware of.

Harang has not suffered a loss since May 20, picking up five victories but also going through seven no-decisions in that stretch but sporting a solid 2.47 ERA. Plus, as Jon Heyman mentioned today, the Reds are 17-5 in games started by Harang, 25-53 in the others. So even if Harang isn't getting all the wins, someone on that staff is when he's there.

He might not be as dominating as Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano or Jake Peavy, but Harang continues to prove he can be a consistent starter at a hopefully reasonable fantasy price.

And speaking of Santana, where is that post-All-Star break dominance we're used to seeing? After pitching seven shutout innings in his first post-break start, Santana has lost two in a row, including getting torched for six runs (including four homers) in five innings against the Blue Jays on Monday.

Other notes:

-- Hunter Pence will be out 4-6 weeks with a chipped bone in his wrist, thus giving Ryan Braun the edge in the NL Rookie of the Year chase. Pence has been solid since coming up from the minors, leading the Astros in hitting and steals. Chris Burke will see more time in center in Pence's place, and Craig Biggio might get some extra looks at second now as he goes on his retirement tour.

-- Jon Lester had an uplifting start for the Red Sox in his first big-league appearance since being diagnosed with lymphoma. Lester went six innings, allowing two runs and striking out six, to beat the Indians. However, he may need to pitch even better than that to stick in the rotation when Curt Schilling comes off the DL in a couple of weeks because Kason Gabbard has a spot secure for now.

-- Another player like Harang who didn't get much All-Star consideration but is blowing away the competition now is the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, who has boosted his average over .300 thanks to a .368 mark in July heading into Tuesday's doubleheader. However, the numbers that really stick out with Granderson are the extra base hits: 28 doubles, 16 triples and 14 homers. Maybe you can excuse the 11 steals a little because it's hard to swipe bags when you're not always starting at first base.
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