Dodgers’ Dan Haren roughed up by Rockies in 10-4 loss
If Hyun-Jin Ryu can’t pitch in October, Dan Haren will be the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter in the playoffs.
The potential downside of that was showcased Tuesday night, when Haren was charged with five runs in five innings of a 10-4 defeat to the Colorado Rockies.
With Ryu sidelined by shoulder inflammation, Haren understands what how important he could be to the Dodgers next month, which is why he said it was important to pitch better when he faces the Chicago Cubs on Sunday at Wrigley Field.
“I want to go into the playoffs, if we can get there, on a high note,” Haren said. “With Ryu, I don’t really know what’s going on with him. Of course, we’d love to have him for the playoffs. I think it’s still possible. That said, I’m expecting, at some point, to be called upon. I have to be my best.”
Ryu’s absence isn’t the only problem that faces the Dodgers, whose lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West was reduced to three games.
Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch from the lineup because of a strained right elbow.
“He was having trouble getting loose throwing,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he didn’t know the severity of Ramirez’s injury.
While Ramirez couldn’t throw, he was able to pinch-hit in the sixth inning.
With Ramirez out of the lineup, Justin Turner started at shortstop.
On this day, it didn’t matter. Turner was three for four with two doubles, the first of which drove in the Dodgers’ two runs in the sixth inning.
Excluding Turner’s two-run double, the Dodgers were two for 13 with runners in scoring position. That’s why they scored only four runs on their 16 hits.
Turner figures to start again Wednesday, as Mattingly sounded as if he didn’t think Ramirez would be ready to play.
Turner will be playing behind rookie right-hander Carlos Frias, who will be making his second career start. Frias replaced Ryu in the rotation.
Even without Ryu, the Dodgers still have two of the game’s best pitchers in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. But their rotation otherwise consists of Frias, Haren and a slumping Roberto Hernandez.
Haren is 13-11 with a 4.14 earned-run average, which are solid numbers for a fourth or fifth starter. His $10-million salary should be viewed as a bargain.
Still, sending Haren to the mound in the postseason would be a considerable risk for the Dodgers. As this defeat to the Rockies demonstrated, Haren is usually brilliant or awful and rarely anything in between.
On this day, Haren’s troubles started in the first inning with a disputed full-count pitch to leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon. Haren thought it was a strike. Home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn thought otherwise.
“It was a tough way to start, for sure,” Haren said. “The guy had a pretty generous zone most of the night, except for that one.”
The next batter, Josh Rutledge, singled. Blackmon advanced to third base on the play and Rutledge reached second when center fielder Yasiel Puig tried to throw out Blackmon.
Blackmon scored on a groundout by Justin Morneau. Rutledge doubled the Rockies’ lead to 2-0 when he went home on a wild pitch that Haren uncorked to Drew Stubbs.
The leadoff runner reached base again in the second inning, when Michael McKenry doubled off Haren. McKenry later scored to increase the Rockies’ advantage to 3-0.
The final blow against Haren was delivered in the fourth inning by Corey Dickerson, who hit a towering two-run home run to right field.
In Haren’s defense, he was 3-0 with an ERA of 0.69 in his previous four starts. Also, Coors Field, with its spacious outfield and thin air, is a notorious hitter’s park. Haren’s history here was a mixed, as he was 5-4 with a 5.29 ERA in his previous 10 starts at the stadium.
“If I could just throw out my two Coors Field starts, I’d feel a lot better about my year,” Haren said.
The other time he pitched here this season, he gave up eight runs in 51/3 innings.
“I’ll just put it behind me, move on to the next one,” Haren said. “I have one or two left. They have be good ones for us to get to where we want to go.”
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