Two of baseball’s fastest-starting pitchers have slowed down in a hurry, though for slightly different reasons.
Jered Weaver has hit a bit of a slump. Dan Haren can’t catch a break.
Haren left Saturday’s game in the eighth inning with a 2-1 lead only to watch struggling reliever Fernando Rodney give up a sharp grounder to Michael Young, the ball taking a strange hop and skipping off Erick Aybar’s glove to drive in the tying run.
On a 50-50 call, the official scorer ruled it a hit – saddling Haren with a dubiously earned run – and all his hard work was in jeopardy of being wasted. At that point, Haren – typically laidback – lost his cool just a tad. He snatched his gear off the bench and stomped up the tunnel toward the clubhouse.
It’s been a maddening stretch for Haren, who has gotten a total of nine runs of support in his past five outings, has seen the bullpen blow three potential wins and hasn’t gotten a win since April 22.
“That’s the story of my life. It’s no big deal,” Haren said. “Those are really hard to swallow when they tie it up, on kind of a flukey play or whatever, and we lose the game. That’s when it’s really tough to handle. We bounced back and scored a run and won the game. I’ll sleep well tonight.”
The Angels lobbied the official scorer to change the call to an error, no avail.
“Michael hit it good, but I think if you ask Erick he’s going to handle that ball 99 times out of 100,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
Haren said he felt better as the game went on – Ian Kinsler’s eighth-inning double skipped off the back of the third-base bag – but Scioscia elected to give Haren the hook, in part because shadows had crept across home plate and Rodney throws about 95 mph.
It didn’t work out. But then again, few things have for Haren lately.