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June 23, 2013 / Nat Anacostia

Time for Haren to go

Like a lot of Nats fans, I was questioning Dan Haren‘s role as the fifth starter as early as the third week of the season. I looked at it then and concluded that we should give him more time. Although he’d already been bombed a couple of times, there were still a lot of things to like—a good strikeout rate, an excellent walk rate, and evidence that some of the home runs allowed were just bad luck. Now he’s had 15 starts, and the picture is similar. His strikeout rate (7.35/9) continues to be good. His walk rate (1.43/9) is excellent. His batting average on balls in play (.328) is a little above average, while his home run rate is huge, but 15.8% HR/FB is well above the norm and would typically be indicative of bad luck.

Nevertheless, I think it’s now time for him to go. Look at what he’s allowed from the perspective of a batter’s line: .306/.340/.548. He’s simply being hit too much and when he’s hit, he’s hit hard. The typical opposing batter’s .548 slugging percentage would rank 7th in the NL league leaders for batters. You can’t have the average opposing batter hitting like Ryan Braun and expect to win. (Though, as I noted earlier, despite having now made six terrible starts, the run support in those starts has been so bad that it’s doubtful that he’s cost the Nats more than about one win.)

Also, with the emergence of Ross Ohlendorf as a viable fifth starter, it just doesn’t make sense to continue to trot Haren out every fifth day. I guess I don’t have a strong opinion whether Haren should go to the DL, to the bullpen, or should simply be released, but I don’t think he deserves to continue starting.

PS. About the time I posted this, news was coming out that Haren’s being placed on the DL. That’s not really a surprise. I think it would be surprising to see him return to the rotation again. Unless Ohlendorf melts down, I think we’ve seen the last of Dan Haren as a Nats starter.

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