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Harang foiled by one pitch in loss to Cardinals

Veteran fans six over six innings, but allows 3-run homer to Grichuk in 6th

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Harang still figures to be an intriguing trade chip come the July 31 Trade Deadline.

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He is 4-9 in 15 starts this season, but he has a solid 3.41 ERA following Saturday's 10-1 loss to the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park. He also has a little more than half of a one-year, $5 million contract on the books, which is a bargain for contending teams not looking to invest big money (and big risk) into a pitcher for a postseason push.

Can't afford Cole Hamels? Harang could be the guy.

Of course, Harang has a 7.61 ERA (20 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings) in his last four starts, which might alarm some teams. But Harang chalked up the struggles in the first two starts of this four-start stretch to facing a hot Reds lineup twice. The last two? Two pitches in two games that amounted to a pair of three-run home runs: a three-run homer to Baltimore's Matt Wieters on Monday and a three-run home run to St. Louis' Randal Grichuk on Saturday night.

Before those homers, in his last two games Harang had allowed two runs in 10 innings.

"I'm trying to make too perfect a pitch in that situation," Harang said about the at-bat against Grichuk. "Literally, it's two pitches. You have two pitches back or you have no runners on in that situation and it's totally different. It's frustrating, but it's part of the game."

But teams will remain interested in Harang. There were plenty of scouts at the ballpark Saturday, many of them keeping their eyes on Harang.

In fact, there is almost no reason to think Harang will not be traded before the Trade Deadline. Why wouldn't he? He has value and he can help the Phillies' rebuilding effort. He won't get a haul like Hamels, but he could net the Phillies something.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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