One time on the verge of potentially losing his spot in the starting rotation, Dan Haren has changed his fortunes and reemerged as an asset for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Haren threw seven shutout innings Wednesday to earn his third consecutive win and help the Dodgers maintain their 2.5-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings. Included in the win was Haren working out of a jam where the Padres had runners on second and third with no outs.
At the age of 34, Haren said he no longer relies on the power he once possessed and instead places more of an emphasis on locating pitches, according to an AP report on ESPN:
I swallowed my pride when it comes to velocity a long time ago,” he said. “I just try to get outs. I’ve minimized my mistakes and located better. I’ve stayed the course.”
Manager Don Mattingly credited Haren for having late movement and said he resembles the pitcher that got off to a 5-1 start this season:
He’s pitching like he did early in the season,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He was getting the ball where he wants and it looks like it had late life. When you’re throwing 88, 89, you got to have late life, and if you don’t have late life you’re going to get hit.”
With the seven innings, Haren is now just 11 shy of his $10 million option for 2015 vesting. The Dodgers skipped a scheduled start earlier in the season, but given his resurgence, appear less concerned at the thought of Haren being under contract next season.
Haren should make two or three more starts in the regular season and if he remains on the road he’s currently on, he likely will be the Dodgers’ fourth starter come postseason. Since losing five straight starts, Haren has gone 5-1 and is now 13-10 with a 3.99 ERA on the season.
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