Is this the Dan Haren the Nationals were expecting?
Since Washington Nationals pitcher Dan Haren came back from his short DL stint on July 8th, he has pitched 30 innings over 5 games. In those 30 innings, Haren has only given up 8 earned runs while posting a 2-3 record and a 4:1 K to BB ratio (32:8). Is this the pitcher that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo envisioned when the team signed Haren to a one year $13 million deal in the winter?
Haren’s turn around comes at a pivotal time for the Nationals. Losing Ross Detwiler to injury, coupled with the recent struggles of the teams batting and run support, the Nationals haven’t had many bright spots in this long and underachieving season. The team is 2nd to last in the NL in runs scored, yet they boast the 7th best ERA in the NL.
Dan Haren pitched another gem tonight in a 3-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, going 7 innings and allowing only 6 batters to reach base (2 walks, 4 hits). This is his second shutout bid since coming back from the DL, his other being on July 13 versus the Miami Marlins. If Dan Haren can continue at this pace and give the Nationals a chance to win every 5th day, they have a chance at making a real run in the last month and a half left in the 2013 season.
Not to go unnoticed, this is Haren’s second straight start in which he has gone 7 innings, given up for or less hits and allowed 2 or less walks. Also since his DL return, Haren has given a strikeout performance of this sequence; 7-7-6-6-6. Not a bad run for a player who before he was injured started 15 games and only averaged 4.47 k’s per game as opposed to the 6.4 pace he is currently on. With less runner reaching base, there have been less opportunities for the Nationals to go up to bat down early in the game.
Keep an eye on Dan Haren and his recent rise to regular contributor. It may seem odd to say about a 4th pitcher in the rotation, but as Dan Haren goes, so do the Nationals. The team
knows what to expect on a nightly basis from Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann. Adding a 4th pitcher to that will only solidify the teams confidence and abilities. Watch for the Nationals to make a push here in the finals stages of the 2013 season and for Dan Haren to be a major contributor.
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