Run into Dan Haren in the Angels clubhouse a few hours before a game and you really can't tell if he's pitching that game or not.
He sits, cross-legged, at his locker stall, toying with an electronic tablet. He lounges on clubhouse furniture watching television.
Watch him when he's pitching and you'd have very little idea what the situation is: Is it the fourth inning of a blowout with nobody on or the eighth inning of a tied playoff game with the bases loaded?
He's a pitcher who displays his emotions as flamboyantly as an oak tree. Win or lose, good or bad, he's just kind of Dan Haren. And right now, with the strength of this Angels team, its rotation, showing some signs of fraying at the edges -- with Jered Weaver about to miss a start due to his meltdown in Detroit and Joel Pineiro's tailspin leaving a hole in the back end -- Haren's calm professionalism was the perfect tonic Thursday night.
He just stood out there against a Minnesota Twins lineup that had hit five home runs the night before and threw strikes, taunted them with his cutter and occasionally embarrassed them with his split-finger fastball. The result was a 7-1 Angels win that may have been the most complete game of the year, that kept this team in the thick of a pennant race, Haren setting the tone.
"They scored 11 runs off us last night and he came in and shut them down most of the game tonight," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's just consistent."
For Jeff Mathis, catching Weaver and Haren is a similar experience. They usually hit his mitt or miss by a fraction of a baseball. They have multiple pitches they can put in multiple locations. And catching them is nothing alike. Where Weaver is boundless energy and emotion, Haren is a cool clinician.
"They have different demeanors, they go about it a different way, they have different moods out there on the mound," Mathis said. "Weave gets a little more excited."
There are times for excitement, and there are times, like now, when Haren brings the perfect personality to this team.