August is winding down. The Dodgers finish off their Western wave of destruction by stopping by San Diego before returning home to take on the first-place Nationals. The Dodgers have absolutely wreaked havoc against their division this year. Even though the division has been weakened by injuries to key players like Troy Tulowitzki and Paul Goldschmidt, the Dodgers still gave all their division foes a hard time this year.
Dan Haren 2015 Vesting Option Standings:
●150 innings pitched
●Needs 30 more innings for $10 million 2015 option to kick in.
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) August 28, 2014
The Dodgers finished up their two-game series sweep of the fourth-place D-backs on Wednesday, and the Dodgers will not be celebrating in their pool when they clinch the division this time.
“Chase Field is the place where the shirts must be red and the bubbles are better off dead!”
That’s my quote by the way. Oh so you want to talk about Dan Haren? Do you? Okay, well you asked for it. Haren actually won his last time out against the Mets. He pitched 7 innings and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts. Three of his last four starts have been decent, but his inconsistencies run deep. Dan Haren pitching in a playoff game scares me a lot. Dan had a horrific July, but he has been able to bounce back this month. In August he is 3-2 with a 4.23 ERA in 5 starts. He is 1-1 with a 4.02 ERA against the Padres this season (3 starts). Overall, Haren is 6-5 with a 3.87 ERA against San Diego in 19 career games. He is 3-3 with a 3.93 ERA at Petco Park in 12 career games.
Dan will have to fend off Seth Smith who is hitting .295 with 13 hits including 4 doubles and 3 homeruns against him in 49 plate appearances. Seth Smith is hitting .308/.399/.509 against the Dodgers with 6 homeruns and 24 RBIs.
Andrew Cashner is looking to improve upon his first start back after missing a significant time due to right shoulder soreness. In his first start after returning from the D.L., Cashner lost to the D-backs after going 5 innings and allowing 2 runs on 7 hits. Cashner also walked two and struggled with his command. The Dodgers faced Cashner back on March 30th in San Diego. The Padres won 3-1, but Andrew wasn’t involved in the decision. He allowed 1 run on 4 hits through 6 innings. Cashner has never won against the Dodgers. He is 0-2 with a 1.35 ERA against them in 15 games (4 starts). The Dodgers have seen Cashner mostly as a reliever during his career with the Cubs and Padres. Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford are both hitting .300 against the flame thrower, but none of the current Dodgers have hit a homerun against him.
Dan Haren has really fought back from the brink. He’s shown the Dodgers over the course of his last four starts that he is a valuable option still for this team down the stretch and into October. With Hyun-jin Ryu almost ready to return, and the seesaw of Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez, the Dodgers could really use Dependable Dan right now instead of Dead End Dan.
Black and Blue Injury Update:
X-rays were negative on Scott Van Slyke‘s ankle after he twisted it during Wednesday’s game and had to leave the field. He is listed as day-to-day, and it doesn’t seem like it is serious.
Uribe should be ready to come off DL when eligible Aug. 31.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) August 27, 2014
YES! Juan Uribe returns Sunday.
Prediction: Carl Crawford homers against Cashner.
The Giants beat Colorado 4-1 on Thursday, so they picked up a 1/2 game and trail the Dodgers by 4 1/2 games. The Dodgers reclaimed the best record in the N.L. on Wednesday with their 76th win on the year.
Kenley Jansen, Trevor Rosenthal, Francisco Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel all sit on top of the most saves list for the N.L. Jansen has 38 saves while the other gentlemen have 39 on the year. Jansen has really emerged as one of the elite closers of the game. Even though we’ve seen Jansen struggle at times, his overall dominance has been incredible. Kenley is second in the N.L. with 87 strikeouts amongst relievers.
The Dodgers will go for the Western win against San Diego on Friday evening in their effort to win enough games to reign in their division title for the second straight season. Led by Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers are thirsty for those celebratory bubbles from the champagne which they tasted last year. This time the Dodgers want to take that bubble party all the way into the Fall Classic. Whether we like it or not, Dan Haren may factor into October. It would be great to have a revitalized Haren here down the stretch, but on the other hand…30 more innings and he’ll be a Dodger again next season.