After a strong start to the season, right-hander Dan Haren has struggled and become the weak link in an otherwise strong starting rotation.
While it may not be fair to expect Haren to keep up with the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, it is fair to expect him to be consistent in the fifth slot of the rotation. He has failed to reach six innings in his last four starts, including two starts where he didn’t make it through the fifth.
Because of his struggles and opportune off-days, Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly has made a decision to try and give Haren some rest via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
Haren's next turn in rotation will be skipped.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) July 26, 2014
With a day off on Thursday and another coming on Monday, the Dodgers can afford to go with a four-man rotation until the first few days of August. Currently, Haren is 8-8 and has a 4.49 ERA in 21 starts. He is also at 122.1 innings and needs 180 total innings on the season to vest his option for 2015. The Dodgers may decide to acquire another starting pitcher in the next week before the July 31 trade deadline and that could push Haren out of the rotation.
Haren has been critical of his performance this season and has even mentioned the fact that it has been tough keeping up with the rest of the rotation. Mattingly took time to defend his starting pitcher, saying that he cannot be compared to the aces and that he has given the team a chance to win in most of the games he has pitched. While this may ring true, the Dodgers cannot afford to have the Haren from the last month in the middle of a pennant race with the San Francisco Giants.
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