LOS ANGELES -- The All-Star break can't come soon enough, because the Los Angeles Dodgers have a couple of issues they could use a little extra time to resolve. The aging back of their rotation is beginning to sag and they can't seem to find a center fielder with whom they're happy.
Dan Haren had another rough start and Scott Van Slyke, third up in the center-field tryouts, had a ball glance off his glove for an RBI double in the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
How it happened: Haren isn't fooling anyone these days. He gave up a two-run home run to Alexi Amarista, all 5 feet, 7 inches of him, in the second inning. Only one major league pitcher, Milwaukee's Marco Estrada, has given up more home runs than the 19 Haren has allowed. Manager Don Mattingly didn't let Haren make it out of the fifth inning, yanking him after three straight hits -- one of which was the Chase Headley shot off Van Slyke's glove. Van Slyke looked up at the center-field wall before colliding with it, the ball actually landing, briefly, on the webbing of his glove.
The Dodgers scored a run in the first inning, but after that rookie Jesse Hahn shut them down. They managed only two hits after the first inning off Hahn, who has a good curveball. He used three of them to strike out Matt Kemp in the fifth inning with a runner at second. After the at-bat, Kemp started to chuck his bat, thought better of it and snapped it over his knee.
Hits: It's looking more and more like Yasiel Puig's June and July slump might have had something to do with trying too hard so he could reach the All-Star Game. Once he was named to the team Sunday, Puig has gone 6-for-20 with four doubles and a triple. He was really the only sign of life from the Dodgers' lineup Friday, walking and scoring, smacking a single up the middle and driving in a run with a double off the right-field wall. He also had another Puig moment on the bases, trying to advance to third on Adrian Gonzalez's sacrifice fly to left field and making for an easy out.
Misses: The Dodgers won't need Haren again until July 21 because of the All-Star break, so perhaps the extra rest will benefit him. In his last two starts, he has given up 16 hits in 9 1/3 combined innings. The weird thing is his stuff has been roughly on par with what it was in April, when he was consistently solid. His strikeout rate is up: 13 in the last two starts. If Haren continues to struggle and Josh Beckett remains out because of a hip injury, the Dodgers might need to delve deeply into trade talks to fix the back of the rotation. That's always easier said than done.
Stat of the game: Puig is one of six players in Dodgers history to go into the All-Star break with at least 100 hits, at least 40 extra-base hits and at least 50 RBIs.