For five innings, Dan Haren was outstanding. That’d be great, except that he pitched 6 2/3 innings. But as it turns out, that was more than good enough, because the Dodger bats came alive for once, the Twins look like a terrible baseball team, and Haren is turning out to be the steal of the winter. (As, of course, we all predicted.)
Haren was all but perfect in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh, allowing only two singles in those frames. That was enough to overcome a tough first (two runs, on two hits, a walk, and some awful defense, as you’ll see in a second), and fifth (two runs on two walks and two hits). Only three of the four runs were earned; Haren has now struck out 34 in 37.2 innings. For a supposed fourth starter on a one-year contract… yeah, that’ll do. (Do be sure to read Eno Sarris’ discussion with Haren about his pitch types at FanGraphs today.)
Of course, Haren isn’t the story here, because the Dodgers pounded out a season-high 15 hits. Yasiel Puig had four of them himself, plus a walk, reaching all five times, and he’s merely hitting .308/.394/.505. Remember that the next time you hear some narrative about how he’s not helping the team. Adrian Gonzalez reached four times on three walks; Juan Uribe had four hits as part of his seventh three-hit game of the season. As Eric Stephen noted, no one else in baseball has more than five. Andre Ethier and Miguel Olivo each had two hits, helping to overcome the 0-10 put up by the middle infield of Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon.
Despite the five-run margin, Chris Perez picked up the save, because saves are dumb, and so is baseball, even when it’s great.
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Remember! More baseball today. At 4 p.m. PT — just under three hours from now — Red Patterson will make his major league debut as the Dodgers try to go for the series sweep.
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Finally, a GIF. In the bottom of the first, with two on, Jason Kubel singled to left, and, well, this happened. I share this not because it was hilarious — okay, not only because of that — but because the play started and ended with Carl Crawford, you can basically watch this as one continuous loop. It’s mesmerizing!