The Rich Report (4/21): Seeing Red

Reds vs. Cubs
Ed. Note: Last year, I came to the conclusion that each of Rich Harden's starts down the stretch were going to be crucial. So after each start, I provided the line for Richard James Harden until the season ended or his arm fell off. Whichever came first. Harden is back in Cubbie blue, so I figured why not do it all over again

After a crummy start against the Rockies (and Jason Marquis - yuck!), Rich Harden struck out eight batters in three innings. Unfortunately, he also walked four batters and allowed five hits and four earned runs as he picked up his first loss at Wrigley Field.

Harden bounced back with a performance so good, not even Neal Cotts and Luis Vizcaino could ruin.

Harden's Line: 6 IP 3 H 2 R 2 ER 8 K 2 BB

That's a heck of a line for someone who was slotted as the team's No. 4 starter. If Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild can find a way to limit his pitches, without allowing the bullpen blow his games late, it could be beneficial to the Cubs down the stretch -- when they need him the most.

Of course, a 7-run outburst definitely helps.