The Los Angeles Dodgers completed the weekend sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with an 8-6 win on Sunday, which gave Dan Haren his second win of the season. While the right-hander picked up the victory, it was not an outing that reflected his first two of 2014.
Though he didn’t allow any runs, Haren had a long first inning as each batter got to a three-ball count. Haren allowed three runs on nine hits and offered an explanation for his night of work, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register:
Haren described his stuff as feeling "like I was throwing under water today." Welcomed #Dodgers run support because "I needed it today"
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) April 14, 2014
The nine hits and three runs surpass the combined totals Haren allowed in his previous two starts. The 33-year-old right hander gave up three runs in the bottom of the third and nearly squandered the 5-0 lead the Dodgers had built. At this point in his career, Haren has been open about his need to rely on pitch location and movement, rather than velocity.
On Sunday, the ability to locate pitches evaded Haren a bit, but he did manage to end threats on enough occasions. After the Diamondbacks scored three runs in the third, Haren struck out Mark Trumbo and retired A.J. Pollock on a groundout to get out of the inning. The Diamondbacks threatened again in the sixth, led by a Pollock double. Chris Ownings then reached base on an error, but Haren retired the next two batters before giving way to Paco Rodriguez.
A 10-game winner in 2013, the Dodgers signed Haren in the off-season to serve as the fourth starter in their rotation. Haren’s importance to the pitching staff increased when Clayton Kershaw was placed on the disabled list and despite Sunday’s struggles, Haren has managed to give the Dodgers exactly what they need.
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