This recent tour of the back end of the rotation has been as successful as the Dodgers could hope for. Dan Haren continued the run of good fortune, helping to lead the Dodgers to a 4-2 victory.
Haren was … not terrible, but there were still remnants of the “old” Haren on display. He gave up a home run to B.J. Upton in the fourth inning, for example. He also loaded the bases in the second inning, all three runners reaching base with two outs. He finally escaped the jam against Mike Minor, the opposing pitcher. Haren still missed over the plate and gave up some non-damaging long fly balls, too.
However, Haren struck out the first two batters in a row (!), on his way to seven for the night. Haren induced nine swinging strikes in six innings and 97 pitches, a rate of 9.3%. So far this season, Haren has only had three other starts with a better swinging strike rate than he had tonight. The Braves are known to whiff a lot, but Haren will still take the good result. The only other run scored on a double which tipped off of Yasiel Puig‘s glove. Including the whiffs and the one walk, it was a job well done.
On the other side of the ball, Mike Minor was pretty good, too. He struck out seven and walked one in 6-2/3 innings. However, he still managed to give up three runs, mostly due to luck on the Dodgers’ side. In the second inning, Justin Turner was hit by a pitch and Juan Uribe singled, bringing up Darwin Barney for his second Dodger plate appearance. Barney blooped a single into right field, aided by a rare defensive mistake by Jason Heyward, who broke in the wrong direction. To add insult to injury, the Dodgers scored on a Yasiel Puig groundout and a Matt Kemp bloop single (off of Tommy La Stella‘s glove) in the fifth inning.
That Kemp single was good enough to put the Dodgers ahead for good, though Darwin Barney added an insurance run in the ninth inning on an error and a wild pitch. The bounces have really gone in the Dodgers’ direction in the last couple of games. Brian Wilson had another good inning and now has a 2.64 FIP since May 16th. Carl Crawford had a decent day at the plate despite the lefty starter, going 3-for-4 with a walk. Darwin Barney made a great play on defense behind J.P. Howell, which was dropped by Scott Van Slyke (who turned a great double play on the next batter). Barney had a great defensive day in general, also making a spinning catch on a bloop into right field with Kenley Jansen pitching. Jansen closed out the game with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth inning.
So, two of the Dodgers’ worst pitchers have gone in the last two days, and the Dodgers came up with wins in both games. Tomorrow, Hyun-jin Ryu will try to follow up Haren and Kevin Correia‘s success. He’ll face Braves starter Ervin Santana at 4:10PM Pacific Time.