The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Saturday’s game having won the last six meetings against the Colorado Rockies.
Although the Dodgers had a 19-hit, 9-0 outburst Friday, the two most recent wins were powered by what’s been a mainstay for the Boys in Blue this season — strong pitching.
Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw allowed a combined two runs in the first two of the four-game series, which set the standard for Dan Haren, Saturday’s starter.
The Dodgers provided a two-run lead for Haren before he took the mound, but the Rockies quickly erased their deficit and the game was tied after the first inning.
Haren allowed a season-high eight runs in 5.1 innings and discussed the difficulty he’s had in keeping pace with the rest of the Dodger rotation, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
The starting pitching here is held to a higher standard, and at this point in my career, I’m not eight innings and no runs anymore,” Haren said. “For the most part, I keep us in the game. But it’s tough to keep up. They’re pretty unbelievable. Kersh and Greinke come into Coors Field and just dominate. It’s tough to hold up my end of the bargain.”
While it was undeniably a rough afternoon for Haren, he also managed to strikeout eight batters, which is a season-high. The right-hander’s last outing was a seven-inning shutout in which he threw 103 pitches and allowed just one hit.
Haren compared his two most recent starts and shared his belief the Dodgers would have won had he been able to replicate his previous performances:
Baseball is a humbling game,” he said. “Five days ago I couldn’t have felt any better. Today, I just wore it out there, basically. If I throw the game I’ve thrown all year, we win. I just couldn’t do it.”
The 33-year-old began the season 4-0 with 2.39 ERA in six starts. He suffered his first loss May 7 and complained of more back pain than he’s accustomed to dealing with.
In 11 starts since the loss, Haren is 4-4 with a 4.98 ERA; the Dodgers are 5-6 in those starts. Whereas Josh Beckett has seemingly improved as the season progresses, Haren appears to be wearing down.
With Chad Billingsley no longer an option for the Dodgers to slide into the starting rotation and Paul Maholm’s struggles in that capacity, the Dodgers may be forced to look at free agents or the trade market to stabilize the rotation.
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