"He's good," Davey Johnson told a reporter who asked if Dan Haren could build on his last start against the New York Mets and keep providing what the Washington Nationals wanted from the 32-year-old right-hander when they signed him to a 1-year/$13M deal this past winter. "He's a veteran. He's got it now."
"He had a bigger spread in his pitches, which is great," Johnson explained when asked what was different in Haren's seven innings against the Nats' NL East rivals last Saturday in D.C. "I think that's more him," the manager said. Haren also kept the ball down in the zone, and kept the ball in the yard for the third time in his last four outings. In July, Haren had a 3.13 ERA in four starts and 23 innings of work in which he held opposing hitters to a .214/.275/.310 line. Both of the home runs the Nats' starter allowed over that stretch of starts came against the Pittsburgh Pirates in his one bad outing in the last four.
"Much better," Johnson said of Haren's command, "And, I mean, very consistent. He didn't have any blips on the screen, like one bad inning where that came up. He was outstanding."
"He's been throwing the ball, I think he's been throwing the ball after the Break better than the first half, by far," Johnson said. Haren's (1-7) away from the nation's capital this season, however, though his ERA is lower in ten starts and 57 2/3 IP outside D.C. (4.99) than it is in Nationals Park (6.08 ERA in 47 1/3). He'll try to win his first road start since May 2nd when he takes the mound in Miller Park in Milwaukee tonight.
Denard Span's back atop the order like Davey Johnson said he would be last night for the second game of three with the Brewers this weekend.
• Here's the lineup for the Nationals tonight:
#Nationals lineup at MIL: Span 8, Harper 7, Zimmerman 5, Werth 9, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Rendon 4, Ramos 2, Haren 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 3, 2013