With an opportunity to reset the starting rotation because of the All-Star break, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly opted to give the ball to Dan Haren for the team’s first game of the second half.
Haren went into the break with two consecutive losses and hoping the time off would do him some good as he said he was “searching.” After 4.2 innings Friday, Haren is likely still searching.
It was Haren’s third start in his last five where he was unable to make it out of the fourth inning. Haren was essentially done in by two St. Louis Cardinals — Koletn Wong and Matt Holliday.
The duo went a combined 4-for-8 with two doubles, one home run, three RBIs and three runs scored.
Haren discussed the two-run home run he surrendered to Holliday, via Alex Halsted of MLB.com:
I made a bad pitch to Holliday,” Haren admitted. “I didn’t make that many mistakes, but I probably got caught up with a runner on first and tried to be too quick to home and left it right over the plate for him.”
As for his third consecutive loss, Haren pointed to his previous history of pulling himself out of a rut and acknowledged a need to improve:
The last two years I’ve had spots where I really struggled and I was able to get through them. I just have to look at that,” Haren said. “Three starts ago, I was 8-4 with a good ERA coming off a one-hitter. I’ve had a couple tough ones in a row. I’ve got to give us a better chance to win like I was the majority of the season.”
The loss dropped Haren to 8-7 this season and raised his ERA to 4.30. He’s 3-4 in his last 10 starts and while the Dodgers haven’t given any indication this will be the case, it’s plausible Haren could be skipped over in his next start.
If Josh Beckett is able to return from the disabled list and start Tuesday, it would preserve Paul Maholm, who could then start in place of Haren on Wednesday. The right-hander couldn’t find the answers over the All-Star break and more time off could only help.
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