If the Dodgers thought a six-game winning streak and first place in the NL West was enough to boost the confidence of Dan Haren coming into Friday night, well... they were wrong.
Haren was awful, again, as the Dodgers looked like crap in losing 8-2 to the Cubs. The same Cubs team that came into this game 20-35 away from Wrigley Field. This is his ugly final line: 4 1/3 innings, eight hits, seven runs (six earned), two walks, three strikeouts. His record is 8-9 and his ERA is 4.76. Yuck.
The reason he got the start in the first place was because Don Mattingly wanted to give Hyun-Jin Ryu an extra day of rest, as he's historically much better with at least five days off. Plus, it doesn't hurt to give the big dogs Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke a little more time off as well.
And let's face it - they were playing the freakin' Cubs. Take away Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, and I'm not sure anyone can even mention another player. Well, they're still one of the worst teams in baseball, but they scored eight runs on 13 hits, and played like a team that was angry at Haren getting what was designed to be an "easy" start to get him going again. Didn't work.
So Haren's story was a rough one, and Chris Perez's wasn't any better. Perez technically didn't give up any runs 2/3 of an inning, but still failed to do what he was brought in for. And it only added to his pitiful season.
In the fifth, Perez entered with one out and the bases loaded. It was not an easy situation, but Perez's own ineffectiveness didn't make it any easier. Right away, Welington Castillo hit an RBI single to make it 5-1. Nate Schierholtz lifted a sac-fly RBI to center, and then Perez uncorked a wild pitch. An infield single by Kyle Kendricks (yes, the starting pitcher...) finished things off at 7-1.
All in all, none of those three runs were charged to Perez, as they only added to Haren's sad tally. But once again, Perez just cannot get the job done. It's hard to believe this guy was once an All-Star closer. His pitches are all over the place, and when he does throw strikes, they're hammered. His ERA stands at 4.97.
If you want more bad pitching news, long reliever Paul Maholm said he felt something "pop" in his right knee while covering first, immediately coming out of the game. Who knows what that could lead to.
Ned Colletti wasn't too harshly criticized for not making any moves on Thursday before the Trade Deadline expired, but there was a bit of surprise that he didn't bring in more pitching help. It's pretty much the worst timing in the world to have this game happen a day later. The Dodgers need some serious help in the back ends of both the rotation and bullpen.
Will it happen? We've seen plenty of August waiver deals in the past, so it definitely can. I have to think Colletti is trying very hard on this. There's always a balancing act between making a move and protecting the prospects on a team that's not getting any younger.
We'll see if Friday night was the last straw for Haren and Perez, who can't possibly be in the team's postseason's plans at this point. Right???