Dan Haren: Recent starts haven't 'worked out'
With three straight wins heading into Saturday’s matchup against the Colorado Rockies, the Nationals saw whatever momentum they had dissipate and quickly. As he has almost all season, starter Dan Haren immediately found trouble and left his team little chance at all in a 7-1 blowout.
Haren’s day was rough from the beginning with a solo home run by the Rockies’ second batter, D.J. LaMahieu. Three innings and five more earned runs later for the 32-year-old Haren and his day was done. He walked off the mound after recording just ten outs with many in the crowd of 35,787 letting him hear it with boos.
For a pitcher with Haren’s resume, it’s not often he’s heard this type of reaction from a home crowd. But given his outing and season overall – he’s now worst the majors with a 6.15 ERA - Haren feels it is deserved.
“No one wants to be booed. I'd probably boo myself, too,” Haren said. “I'm not doing well and the fans have a right to express how they feel. I wish I could perform better for them.”
Another unfortunate start for Haren and he’s now allowed 20 earned runs in his last 18 1/3 innings pitched. It is the worst stretch Haren can remember going through as a major league pitcher.
“I've never gone through this stuff in my career,” he said. “It's definitely a battle to stay confident. There's self-doubt that obviously creeps in for everybody whenever they're not doing well and obviously I've been struggling for a while now.”
Haren’s day was so ugly, it may force the Nationals to make a change. Manager Davey Johnson said he will have to talk with the veteran on Monday after his scheduled bullpen session, and that pulling him from his next start is an option, especially if something physical is discovered.
“I’m a little concerned about him,”Johnson said. “I’m going to have a talk with him next time he throws and see if we can’t do something to make things better for him. I don’t want to speculate on what I’m thinking about right here, but we have some concerns.”
Haren gave up a total of seven hits, but walked none and struck out five Rockies batters. It has been the story of his season, he strikes guys out but sees his mistakes capitalized on consistently.
Fellow veteran Adam LaRoche has tried talking to Haren to offer any advice he can, but he himself is baffled.
“He’s not walking anybody. I don’t know. It seems like bad luck right now,” LaRoche said.
“You can be that good, still strike out a bunch of guys, and any time you miss it’s getting hit. I talked to him a little bit about it. I know he’s trying to find ways to be more consistent too, so I don’t know what it is.”
To replace Haren in the fourth inning, Johnson called on right-hander Ross Ohlendorf who had a solid start on June 12 against the Rockies in Colorado. If this was any sort of audition to take Haren’s spot in the rotation, Ohlendorf did all he could. The 30-year-old tossed 4 2/3 innings with just four hits and an earned run allowed.
But as Ohlendorf kept the Rockies off the board and the Nationals’ other relievers on the bench, Washington’s bats continued to stay cold. They left a total of 11 men on base after recording six hits, their only run coming on a Ryan Zimmerman solo homer in the ninth inning.
Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin was unhittable for much of the day, throwing seven scoreless innings with just five hits and a walk. Johnson said getting behind early played a role in the Nats’ scoring troubles.
“Us getting behind three runs in the first inning was a big part of it,” Johnson said. “And then he just made a lot of good pitches, with both his fastball and his breaking stuff.”
After their three runs in the first, the Rockies added three more in the fourth inning. Wilin Rosario led off with a single and was pushed to third on a Corey Dickerson double. Rosario then scored on a wild pitch and Dickerson came home on a single by Chacin. Haren threw two wild pitches and also hit a batter.
The Nats will try and complete the series win on Sunday with Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.34 ERA) on the mound. Pitching for the Rockies is fellow lefty Jorge De La Rosa (7-4, 3.21).