Sunday, May 26, 2013

Two pitches doom Haren in loss to Phillies

Photo by USA Today
Sometimes a baseball game can come down to one pitch. In the Nats’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies on Saturday, it may be traced back to just two.

Starter Dan Haren was grooving through the Phillies lineup in the top of the second, having struck out four of the first five batters he faced, when back-to-back home runs put the game in Philadelphia’s hands. The Nats would come back to tie it up later on, and then lose it, but a contest decided by two runs in many ways came down to two consecutive pitches.

The first was to Phillies left fielder Dominic Brown. Haren was in control, trusting his stuff after mowing through the first five batters. But Brown is on a hot streak and took the first pitch he saw, a curveball aimed outside, straight into the stands in right-center field.

It was a play that left catcher Kurt Suzuki almost in disbelief, off a pitch they had intended to be out of Brown’s range.

“It was a backdoor curve. I mean it was up, but I thought it was up and off the plate,” he said.

“I don’t know if he was looking for it or what. That’s credit to him, I didn’t think he could do much with that pitch because it was up and away.”

Haren was shocked at the outcome as well, but saw a replay of the pitch later on and realized the mistake he had made.

“Looking back on it, I thought it was a better pitch at the time than it was. It was a little up. It was out over the plate. Curveball, that’s like my fourth best pitch. I throw those more early in the counts. I was surprised he got that good of a swing on it.”

The very next pitch, Haren threw a cutter to catcher Erik Kratz, also a little higher in the zone than he intended. This one found the seats in left field.

“Kratz got me on first pitch too,” he said. “I was trying to be aggressive there like I was going previous, but those balls just got a little too much height.”

The two pitches were clear mistakes made by Haren, if he eliminates those then afterwards he’s talking about his best start of the season. Haren otherwise dominated with ten strikeouts, one walk, and four total hits allowed in six innings. The ten strikeouts were a Nats’ season high and the most for Haren since 2011. On one of baseball’s best staffs, Haren is starting to pull his weight.

Haren said afterwards he can’t make the mistakes he made and expect to go home with a win, but overall he is encouraged by the outing.

“I felt great. Last game against the Padres, my arm just felt heavy. I felt like I was throwing a softball up there, it just didn’t feel good,” he said.

“But today, my body has been bouncing back real good after starts. I’m encouraged with the way I’m feeling stuff-wise. Today was about as good as I’ve had all year, today I just made a couple of mistakes.”

The Nats had at least ten hits for the second night in a row, but mustered only three runs. Eleven hits and three runs for an offense, with their pitcher giving up three runs on just four hits, that’s not going to happen every night. That gives both the pitcher and the catcher some confidence in their approach overall.

“His command was really good,” Suzuki said. “That’s the Dan that I’m used to seeing. I’ve seen him for a number of years now and every time I see him he’s like that.”

“Sometimes you just gotta tip your hat and move on.”

Haren hopes Saturday was just an anomaly and that the same approach will produce a better result next time.

“If I’m throwing like I did tonight, we’ll be good,” he said.


Joe Seamhead said...

I thought the double given up to the pitcher was worse then the solo home runs.

SCNatsFan said...

It is a new day, a new game. Stop with the talk of baby steps and take a stride. Play like you are supposed to be playing.

Go Nats.

Candide said...

Mark said...Eleven hits and three runs for an offense ... that’s not going to happen every night.

It is if ten of those hits are singles.

Joe Seamhead said...

Dan Haren pitched a heck of a game, and I think that the headline to this column is misleading and unfair to him. Just my opinion, but two solo home runs aren't what doomed Haren, or the Nats. Leaving a small village on the bases is what doomed them.
Go get 'em today!

Gonat said...

Candide, I left you a message on the other page. Great interview question with Detwiler. I really like the candidness behind his answer.

Joe Seamhead said...

This was Chase's column, Candide.

Nats 128 said...

Jonathan Pettibone saw Span playing him shallow and jumped on that ball. Never give a pitcher an opportunity to hit a ball over your head.

Anonymous said...

SJM308, I wish you wouldn't go. I certainly agree that the influx of readers who make content-free, insulting, and baseball-stupid comments has skyrocketed this year. But you can learn their names pretty quickly and just skip over them (although I admit it's getting increasingly difficult).

Right now, I move quickly, stopping for:

(1) names I know I can count on for thoughtful, non-insulting analysis (you, NatsLady, Section 222, and several others)

(2) longer comments that have statistical analysis or analysis of the Nats' minor league system (many of these by Peric, who meets my "thoughtful" criteria but not always the "non-insulting" criteria)


(3) I was at the game today and noticed [fill in the blank].

If you go away, it makes the comments even less worthwhile.

If someone would open an aggressively moderated blog for comments on Mark's and Chase's coverage -- but one that unashamedly bans people just because they don't know or don't care enough about baseball to add anything of value, I'd be there in a flash.

I agree there are far too many people here now just like to insult people and express worthless "in my opinion" type of comments with no analysis to back them up. Over and over and over again.

But if they drive out the valuable analysis, we all lose.

I hope you'll stay

Nats 128 said...

snopes1, I don't think SJM308 is going anywhere. I think SteveM is the one contemplating leaving after his battle last night with the troll Peric.

Gonat said...

I saw the Peric/SteveM back & forth last night. I could have jumped in and told Peric he was lying on facts as he usually does. If I did that then I get labeled a sycophant from Feelwood or one of his aliases so why bother.

Jeff made a plea to Mark yesterday about getting moderation as Peric is just ruining this Blog. His rants and name calling and insults are over the top. When he doesn't get his way he just makes up stuff to support his position.

Nats 128 said...

I dont come here to read a bunch of homers blowing smoke up my backside when things arent good. What I used to hate about this Blog Ive grown to like in the different opinions as long as they are factual. If everyone was the same what fun would that be.

Nats 128 said...

Solano gets a start. Good luck with Strasburg!

SCNatsFan said...

It will test Solano's skills as SS has been as wild this year as any with breaking balls that aren't even close as I've ever seen. Lets hope there aren't many on base so this is a non issue. And, as long as I'm hoping, lets hope we stake him to an early lead. Big early lead.

Anonymous said...

Nats 128 -

I was responding to this post by SJM308 (below), which does sound like he's planning to stop commenting. I personally don't care whether someone is a homer or even Phillies fan, so long as he or she has something valuable to say and can say it in a non-insulting way.

The percentage of such posts here is WAY down in 2013. Last year, I read the comments here before I read the media coverage in the Post or the Times. Lately, I often don't get around to the comments at all because there's so much crap to filter out to get to the good stuff.

Anyway, I wanted to make clear to SJM308 that his statement that "I know you guys/girls won't miss me that much" is wrong. I ALWAYS stop scrolling to read sjm308's comments.

sjm308 said...
I will say that I still enjoy reading Mark and this is still where I go first in the morning. Just not so much the comment section. I know you guys/girls won't miss me that much but I have better things to read than whether Ghost or Peric is the smartest baseball pundent/coach/scout/ god knows what else!

original Nats Fan said...

Nats 128, some people's opinions are sworn facts in their own eyes. What I don't like are the name calling, like moron, and personal attacks, i. e., you disagree with me, you are stupid, etc. This should be a place where all varieties of Nats fans are welcomed and encouraged. I skim a lot of entries now. Today, Stras vs Colbert. I can hardly wait for the game to begin. Go, Nats

DWS said...

I generally don't read game threads so I can't comment on perics name calling etc. I did read saw Peric/SteveM back and forth and if they want to banter so be it.
I think part of the enjoyment of this blog (Thanks Mark) is the personalities.

Nats 128 said...

1. There is no evidence by any member of the media that Espinosa had a shoulder injury in August 2012. He had a MRI on September 17, 2012.

2. Espinosa played 36 games as a shortstop in 2012. He batted .295 in those games. Does that mean Espy only is a better hitter when he is at shortstop or is that a small statistical anomaly.

Discuss between yourselves before Peric wakes up.

Joe Seamhead said...

For those of you that didn't see this play by ALR of the carom off of Lombo was a hoot, not to mention pretty indicative of why many of us value Adam at first base so much. It's worth another look, even if you saw it last night:

sjm308 said...

Snopes and 128, it was a long night and I was just frustrated. Thank you both. I wish I could skip over better but I just get caught up.

I am pretty much a 68 year old addicted to beer and baseball and while things have changed on this site, I still relish hearing from most. As an example, this morning I thought Natslady set it up well and it went fine from there.

Again, thanks for the thoughts and while I did contemplate finding better usage of the hours reading this blog, I am hooked.

Go Nats!

Candide said...

sjm308 said...while I did contemplate finding better usage of the hours reading this blog, I am hooked.

Glad to hear that. I want the good guys to stick around; I don't want to see Gresham's Law in action here. Your TV has a remote, lets you change channels if you don't like what's on - you don't have to shut it off just because the channel you're at is showing Real Housewives. Your brain has a remote, too, and you can train it to move your eyes down a post every time you see the word "moron;" you don't have to shut the figurative TV off.

Candide said...

Gonat: Thanks!
Seamhead: Oops!

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