Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quietly, the Haren signing looks pretty darn good

How about these numbers for your first two starts with a new team:

Start #1: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Start #2: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Those belong to Dan Haren, who was signed this offseason to a one-year, $10 deal, with a 2015 option for $10 million that vests with 180 innings.

I'd say his chances of staying in LA and making some more cash are looking pretty good.

Beating the Padres is one thing, but beating the Tigers is a whole different story.  That's exactly what he did on Tuesday night, as he went toe-to-toe with reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer for much of the game.  Haren was denied a victory, and Scherzer a loss, when Kenley Jansen blew a save in the ninth.

Not to worry, as Carl Crawford's walk-off double in the ninth scored Chone Figgins to win the game.

If anyone saw Haren pitch in Spring Training, then you had plenty of reasons to be worried.  In four appearances covering 12 innings, his ERA was 6.00, and opponents were hitting a whopping .373 against him.  His last start against the Angels was just awful, giving up six runs in two innings.

I do recall hearing the great Orel Hershiser on SportsNet LA discuss how Haren's stuff had no break to it, perhaps because he was in Arizona at the time.  When he got back to LA, things would be better, and he'd be ready to go.

As much as I love Orel, I thought that looked like a bunch of wishful thinking.  Sure enough, two starts an 0.75 ERA later, he was right.  Again.

With news that Josh Beckett is due to start Wednesday night against the Tigers, the Dodgers' pitching staff looks like it can at least hold its own until Clayton Kershaw returns sometime in May.  A top three of Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Haren looks pretty good right now, and hopefully Beckett can find his groove as he did when he first came to the Dodgers in 2012.

Of course, if Paul Maholm gets another start, that wouldn't be a good thing.  But four out of five ain't bad.

Obviously Haren won't continue to put up six innings and one or two runs.  That would be awesome, but it won't happen.  What we can hope for is that when everyone is healthy, he can be the best #4 man in the game.  If you can go pitch-for-pitch against someone like Scherzer, I certainly think he can beat any #4 in the game.

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