Dan Haren’s wildly inconsistent season may at last be stabilizing when the Los Angeles Dodgers need him most.
Haren took the mound on extra rest and struck out six in six innings of one-run baseball Friday. The win was his second in three starts and he improve to 4-1 in his last six outings. The right-hander is 12-10 on the season and for now at least, appears to have solidified his place as the team’s fourth starter.
As for what his recent success may mean for the postseason, Haren said he hasn’t given it any thought, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
I know, obviously, we’ve got the front three guys and then, you know, if there’s a need for a fourth guy, of course I’d want to pitch,” he said. “But I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I’m just trying to win these games and pitch good for the team.”
Josh Beckett at one time was pitching well enough he seemed to have an inside track on being named the fourth starter when postseason play began. However, injuries have since ended his season and that leaves the Dodgers to choose from Haren, Kevin Correia or Roberto Hernandez.
Given that Correia was sent to the bullpen once Hyun-Jin Ryu returned from the disabled list, he may be on the outside looking in. Another development to keep track of is Haren’s vesting option for 2015 that may be all but a formality at this point.
With six innings pitched Friday, Haren now sits at 162 on the season and needs 18 more in order for the option to vest. The right-hander will likely make four more starts before the season comes to an end.
The possibility of Haren being on the roster next season at $10 million can viewed two ways. On one hand, he’s a 12-game winner, which is the first time the Dodgers have had four pitchers win at least 12 games since 1985.
However, Haren will be 34 before the 2015 season begins and his struggles this year are well-documented. Enduring a similar season may be difficult for the Dodgers, who would also need to find a fifth starter.
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