Dan Haren's final start in Grapefruit League action in Florida saw him surrender five runs on seven hits, four of them home runs over 6.0 IP against the Miami Marlins. Tonight in Cincinnati, the 32-year-old right-hander who signed a 1-year/$13M dollar deal with Washington this winter, gave up nine hits, four of them home runs and six runs total in 4.0 innings on the mound against the Reds.
Nats' skipper Davey Johnson dismissed the Spring outings in his post game comments tonight. "He's a quality pitcher," the Nats' 70-year-old skipper said, "He knows how to pitch. I don't put anything on Spring Training. It's just getting your arms in shape and working on a few things. So let's just move on."
"Turn the page. Move on. It was one of those games."
The manager and the no.4 starter had the same thoughts about what the problem was Friday night in Haren's first start of the season, which came on nine days' rest. "It's location," Johnson said, "The ball up a little bit, the ball moved back over the middle of the plate. It can happen. He had a long layoff and that can cause you not to be sharp. It's just one game."
"Over the course of a game, you can make a few, a handful of mistakes," Haren explained to reporters after the start. "But it was just way too many." And when you make mistakes you can't make them up in the zone in Great American Ballpark. "This ballpark, you really have to emphasize being down in the zone. I didn't really have a gripe with the umpire at all."
According to MLB.com's Gameday gun, Haren, whose velocity was a concern for some interested teams before he signed in D.C., after it fell for the third straight year in 2012 in LA, threw 27 four-seam fastballs, which sat at around 90-91 mph, 40 cutters at around 84-86 mph, one two-seam fastball (90 mph), four curves (77-79 mph) and six splitters (83-86 mph) with both of the pitches hit out in the second, on back-to-back-jacks by Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart, four seam fastballs up in the zone when catcher Kurt Suzuki was set up to receive pitches low. The three-run blast by Cozart came on an 85 mph 0-1 cutter that ended up belt-high inside and sailed out to left.
"A few fastballs ran back over the plate on me," Haren told reporters after the game, which saw the Reds collect 19 hits, six home runs and 15 runs total in a 15-0 shutout. "I [have] to keep those away and the cutter, the three-run home just stayed kind of flat, but I know I'm better than that, there's no use dwelling on it. It's over with, I'll move on to the next one."
"We came up against a good club and they capitalized on our mistakes," Davey Johnson responded when asked what he could take from the loss. "Things happen and things happen for a reason. We got our you-know-what kicked, but there's always tomorrow."
1:00 pm EST today in Cincinnati. LHP Ross Detwiler vs RHP Mike Leake.