Dan Haren began the season 4-0 and looked every bit worthy of the one-year, $10 million contract with a vesting option for 2015 he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the off-season.
However, since his first loss on May 7, it’s largely been a struggle for the right-hander. He’s now 8-9 with a 4.76 ERA and has lost a season-high five consecutive games.
Haren avoided a turbulent first inning on Friday, which was the inning that had given him the most trouble but withered in the fifth. The Chicago Cubs loaded the bases with one out when manager Don Mattingly took Haren out of the game.
In stepped Chris Perez, who allowed all three of the inherited runners to score. Following the loss, Haren said he was embarrassed and discussed how difficult his rough stretch has been, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:
I was just embarrassed with my performance. I feel bad for the fans, for the 24 other guys,” Haren said. “Coming into today, I felt really good mentally. I tried to clear my head. Driving to the field, I felt like good things were going to happen. And then the same results came out of it. It’s tough. This is the toughest time in my career.
Haren lost his final two starts before the All-Star break and said he hoped the time off would serve him some good. He’s since gone on to lose three more games and voiced his frustration with being unable to extend the Dodgers winning streak:
I had the bad start last year and was able to turn things around, but it means more this year. With the way we’ve been playing, to be the weak leak … . I take a lot of pride in my preparation; it hurts that much more.”
The Dodgers skipped Haren’s last scheduled start, but manager Don Mattingly indicated after the game there wouldn’t be a repeat of that. As it stands, Haren will next face one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on August 7.
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