Dan Where Have You Gone?

When staff ace Brandon Webb was taken out of the game on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies everyone thought he was just having a bad game. Then came word of shoulder stiffness and the inevitable waiting period to see if the soreness would go away.

The days stretched into weeks that soon became months. Any team that loses their ace is bound to feel the dramatic effects of not having a number one starter. While it has been bad not having Webb this season, the loss was tempered by the fact that the Diamondbacks had a second ace up their sleeves.

When the Diamondbacks made a deal with the Oakland Athletics sending 6 players to the bay area in exchange for right-handed pitcher Dan Haren I silently wondered if the team had perhaps fallen on their collective heads.

It made no sense to give up the amount of talent they did for one player especially one who had no proven track record in the National League. Over the past two seasons I have been proven wrong during every outing that Dan Haren had.

He could arguably be the best starter in the Diamondbacks rotation during these past two seasons; especially this year. Over the first half of the season Haren’s numbers were absolutely ridiculous. His ERA was barely over two and he thoroughly dominated the opposing hitters.

One of the biggest travesties was when Charlie Manuel selected San Francisco Giants starter Tim Lincecum over Dan Haren to start the 2009 all-star game. Haren made the most of his all-star appearance showing everyone when he should be called the ace of the Diamondbacks staff.

Since the all-star game things haven’t really gone well for Dan Haren. The fans and the players have become so used to Haren dominating that when he has had starts where he gave up a couple of runs you began questioning what was wrong with him.

With the Diamondbacks giving away a game on Friday night, all eyes were on Dan Haren to return to dominating form and shut down the Nationals. After all, Haren had never lost in the nation’s capital.

This game looked very similar to the previous starts Haren has had since the all-star break ended. He was sharp but not as sharp as he had been earlier in the season. He worked only 6 innings again and allowed five runs on seven hits two of which were home runs. By the end of this outing Haren’s ERA had ballooned to 2.57 (I could barely keep from laughing as I wrote that).

For the second night in a row the Diamondbacks lost to the Washington Nationals. This was especially hurtful as the Nationals had beaten the Diamondbacks best pitcher this year. Hopefully Haren will be able to figure out what is going on and get back on track. This team really needs him to dominate for the rest of the season.

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