Being the fifth starter in any pitching rotation is tough. There is a perception that there are four other starting pitchers that can get better results.
Dan Haren has had to deal with questions all year regarding his inconsistent work on the mound. Being in a rotation with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and even Josh Beckett can make for a tough task in terms of keeping up.
I think Dan’s been fine,” Mattingly said. “Look at his body of work as a fifth starter, it’s been pretty good. You’re looking at Zack [Greinke], at Clayton [Kershaw], at Hyun-Jin [Ryu], the way Josh has gone, it’s not normal. Then it looks like he’s not doing the job. What we’re asking him is to pitch innings and keep us in the ballgame, and I think he’s done that.”
Haren holds an 8-7 record this season. He has suffered three straight losses and failed to reach the sixth inning in all of them. The right-hander’s ERA has gone from 3.16 to its’ current 4.30 over the last two months. Haren is the only starting pitcher in the rotation with an ERA over 4.00 and his seven losses are the most of any Dodger starter this season.
Haren’s criticism stems from comparisons to the outstanding year the pitching staff has had, which includes two no-hitters, three pitchers with double-digit wins and a 41 consecutive scoreless inning streak. While Haren has not been a dominant force, he has provided a durable fifth man in the back of the rotation. The 33-year-old even mentioned the fact that it’s difficult to outdo his rotation mates earlier this season.
Haren will look to put an end to his current losing streak as he takes on the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night in the rubber game of the three-game series at PNC Park. In his career, Haren is 3-2 with a 4.92 in nine starts against the Pirates.
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