By the second inning of tonight’s game, I was all but certain that we’d never see Dan Haren in Dodger blue again. His recent struggles have been well-documented, but this was something else. In the first four pitches, Haren allowed hits to Gregory Polanco and Travis Snider, then let Andrew McCutchen rip a liner that fortunately found Juan Uribe‘s glove. But then he walked Neil Walker, and then Russell Martin — sounds familiar, doesn’t it? — let Ike Davis drive one in with a sacrifice fly, and let Josh Harrison push across two more with a double. In the second inning, he left a pitch out over the plate, and Snyder very nearly put it into the river. It wasn’t even enjoyable to make jokes. It was just sad. It was difficult to watch.
…and then Haren went out and retired the next 11 Pirates in a row.
The damage was already done, of course, so that Paul Maholm allowed another run in on two hits and a walk in his lone inning of work didn’t really matter that much. In the long run, I don’t know if Haren managing to get a few good innings together to end his day is really going to make any difference, but it’s at least something. Of course, with a day off tomorrow, and another on Monday, the Dodgers can — and should — easily get through the remainder of July without needing a fifth starter again. By the time they do, on August 2, it’s anyone’s guess as to who is actually on this roster. Someone new will be in the rotation, of that we can be almost sure. Whether or not Haren still is remains to be seen.
We should probably note that this loss isn’t all on Haren, since the Dodgers scored just a single run against Francisco Liriano and friends, and had only five hits (two by Uribe). After putting two on with one out in the first, they never really seriously threatened again, though they got unlucky when Drew Butera hit a hard liner into a double play with Dee Gordon on base in the fifth. Anyway, it really did feel like the game was over from the moment that Haren took the mound.
Chris Perez got another shot after last night’s debacle, and comparatively, it was great. He didn’t even walk anyone! Not that allowing a leadoff single and then making a terrible throw on a comebacker that didn’t go into center only because of Miguel Rojas is great, but at least he got a groundball double play to end it. Also, Yasiel Puig pinch-hit and even played center field for an inning without killing anyone, making him approximately the 73rd different man to play center in the last three weeks.
Anyway, enough of Pittsburgh and St. Louis and all of this garbage. After tomorrow’s off day, Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum face off on Friday night in San Francisco to kick off what should be a massive series.