With the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation in a state of flux, manager Don Mattingly made the decision to send Dan Haren to the hill Monday in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants, as opposed to Sunday.
Haren entered the start looking to get the Dodgers closer to clinching the division and also reach a personal benchmark. The veteran right-hander needed just six innings to reach 180 on the season and trigger a $10 million vesting option for 2015.
To his credit, Haren turned in seven innings of one-hit baseball and he now can make the decision on whether or not to return next season. Following the Dodgers’ extra-innings loss, Haren revealed the option had been something on his mind, which contradicts his previous marks, via Michael Lananna of MLB.com:
Of course I think about it,” Haren said. “I may say I’m not, but there’s a number set there by them, and I feel like I pitched pretty decent the whole year. Whether I earned it or deserve it, that’s kind of up to someone else’s opinion. I think what I have earned is the right to choose if I want to come back. … I think I’ve pitched good enough to deserve that.”
Scheduled to make one more regular season start, Haren added he was pleased to reach 180 innings to prevent the topic from lingering:
It was little bit weird,” Haren said. “Everybody knew. It was kind of an elephant-in-the-room type thing. I’m glad I got it over with. I didn’t want to have to go into the next game thinking about it.”
This season hasn’t been easy for Haren, who is 13-11 with a 4.03 ERA and endured a five-game losing streak. He snapped it with a win Aug. 6 and it marked the start of a 5-1 stretch. Prior to the rough stretch he was 8-4 and started the season with an impressive 5-1 mark.
With Hyun-Jin Ryu still working to recover from a shoulder injury and Roberto Hernandez continuing to struggle, Haren could factor in more heavily in the Dodgers’ postseason rotation than initially believed.