Last night’s win was nail-biting, and tonight might not be much better as Dan Haren gets the start for the Dodgers. Quite frankly, Haren has been a mess lately. Since May 7th, he has a 4.46 ERA, a 5.40 FIP, and a 5.31 RA9. In that time period, he’s struck out 4.25 batters per nine innings. He has struck out more than three batters in a start once, and more than two batters twice. He has also allowed nine home runs in that span.
When I wrote about Haren after his May 7th start, I was pretty worried about his swinging strike rate not matching the results of his strikeout rate. Before that article, Haren was striking out 19.5% of the batters he faced with a swinging strike rate of 6.1%, which was an outlier from what other pitchers have done with a full season of work. In the run of starts since May 7th, Haren has increased his swinging strike rate despite striking out just 11.2% of the batters he has faced. It’s the same relationship, but now he has the opposite problem.
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That’s actually good news for Haren, because it means there’s hope that his strikeouts could rebound a bit and he might end up close to the midpoint of the April and May/June extremes. If so, he can still be valuable, but he needs to get out of this funk first.
In injury news, Chone Figgins was sent to the disabled list with a quad strain this evening. Carlos Triunfel was called up to take his place. Triunfel presumably is not available tonight since the announcement came so late. Chad Billingsley hasn’t decided if he wants to have surgery yet, but either way he’s probably done for the season. There is no way that the team will pick up his 2015 option, so that might be it for Billingsley as a Dodger unless he comes back on a very cheap/minor league deal. Paul Maholm is dealing with a sore non-pitching elbow, but is still available to pitch tonight. We’re against rushing injuries, even on good players, so keeping Maholm around with an injury seems foolish.
It’s a bit early to be watching the scoreboard, but the Giants lost today’s game on a Brandon Barnes two run inside-the-park home run, which occurred with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Today’s homer was Barnes’ second of the season; his first was also inside-the-park. An unlucky break for the Giants, perhaps, but the Dodgers have a chance to move back to within 6.5 games with a win tonight.
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