Haren Set For Debut

The Arizona Diamondbacks know just how lethal two overpowering starters on the same staff can be.

The Diamondbacks will get their first look at the second of their two aces on Wednesday when Dan Haren squares off against the Cincinnati Reds in the middle of a season-opening three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Arizona -107 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Arizona -107 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Arizona acquired Haren from Oakland for six prospects in December. Haren went 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA last season for the A's, setting career bests in wins, ERA and strikeouts (192).

Along with opening day starter Brandon Webb, the Diamondbacks are hoping they've assembled one of the best one-two punches in baseball. Arizona followed that same formula in 2001, riding Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to its only World Series title.

"I think that pitching is just as contagious as hitting," said Haren, who started the All-Star game for the AL last season. "Say Webb goes out and throws seven scoreless (innings), I'm going to want to go out there and do just that. And then if I go out and do that the next guy is going to want to do that."

Haren is 1-1 with a 5.93 ERA in three career appearances - two starts - against the Reds. He joins a pitching staff that ranked fourth in the NL last season with a 4.13 ERA.

"I'm just here to help us maybe get to the next level and help us be a better team," Haren said. "But this is (Webb's) team. He's been doing it here for years. He's won a Cy Young here. He's the leader of the staff. I think everyone looks up to him."

Webb gave up two runs in six innings in Monday's season opener, helping the Diamondbacks to a 4-2 win over the Reds. Arizona, which hit an NL-worst .250 last season, got home runs from Chris Young, Eric Byrnes and Jeff Salazar.

Young set a club rookie record with 32 homers last season for Arizona, which led the majors with 32 one-run wins. Brandon Lyon, who is taking over as closer for the departed Jose Valverde, pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

"That's exactly how we won a lot of them," Young said. "The starter goes six, then it's 7-8-9 and get it done."

The Reds, meanwhile, managed only three hits, spoiling Dusty Baker's first game as the team's manager. Baker is charged with helping the Reds avoid an eighth straight losing season.

"I think we were trying to do too much," said Brandon Phillips, who hit an RBI triple and scored a run. "It was like we were trying to prove something instead of trying to win the game. A lot of guys were swinging at balls they don't normally swing at."

Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk, remaining seven home runs shy of 600 for his career.

Starter Bronson Arroyo will try to help Cincinnati bounce back on Wednesday.

Arroyo led the Reds in losses last season, going 9-15 with a 4.23 ERA. Cincinnati lost 22 of Arroyo's 34 starts, but he received an average of just 2.79 runs of support in those defeats.

Arroyo is 0-2 with a 4.56 ERA in five career appearances - three starts - against the Diamondbacks.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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