If Dan Haren looks a little derpy in that picture above, I apologize, because he’s been, well… really good lately. I know! I can’t believe it either. Since he got lit up for six earned runs against the Cubs on August 1, he’s made six starts and allowed 1,2,3,1,0, and 1 earned runs, respectively, after getting through six innings against Arizona tonight. That’s eight earned runs in 35.1 innings over that span, which is outstanding. It also gets him up to 162 innings, which means that his odds of getting to the 180-inning 2015 vesting option are off the board at the moment, and while that will be an interesting subplot over his remaining three (probably) starts, if he’s helping the 2014 club find success, I think we can all live with it.
He even contributed an important hit, pushing A.J. Ellis to second so he could score the first run of the game on Hanley Ramirez‘ second-inning single, which I’m mostly show you here because Vin Scully thought this Vidal Nuno pitch was so bad he actually laughed at it:
If even Vin is throwing shade at you, you’re doing it wrong. Then again, as poor as that pitch was, Nuno managed to make it through six innings of his own, rarely looking good and consistently getting hit hard, but at one point retiring 14 in a row, and allowing only the Ramirez RBI single and this Matt Kemp home run, which we’re going to watch because it was opposite field and it’s so damn fun to see Kemp hitting well:
MORE OF THIS PLEASE, MATT. I LIKE THIS CONSIDERABLY.
But, since they never did get more than two against Nuno — yes, another bases loaded situation ended in failure, sigh — that meant the game was still a one-run affair as Haren handed it off to the bullpen, which is always terrifying. Pedro Baez looked excellent in getting through 1.1 innings, and J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson followed Baez to get one out apiece in the eighth. After the Dodgers did little in the bottom of the inning — hey, at least Joc Pederson made contact — Kenley Jansen came in to easily blow through three Diamondbacks.
I can’t say the fact that the Dodgers didn’t get a hit after the third inning is a great thing. But with Haren pitching well, Kemp mashing, and the bullpen pitching in for once, I’ll take it. I’ll take it every time.