Coming off surrendering four home runs in his Nationals debut Friday in Cincinnati, Dan Haren tries to find it tonight against the Chicago White Sox. Nats manager Davey Johnson sounded more concerned about golf as he sat down with reporters on Thursday afternoon.
“Here we are interrupting the Masters,” Johnson cracked.
In the 15-0 loss, Haren lasted four innings, surrendering nine hits and six earned runs while walking none and fanning five. It was a continuation of a rough spring in which Haren went 0-4 with a 6.39 ERA.
“I’m not worried about him. He showed me a lot of good stuff in the spring. I like his makeup. I like his pedigree,” Johnson said. “I know he’s had some physical issues in the past. But those haven’t cropped up here. He’s throwing the ball good. His velocity and everything is up. Just a matter of making pitches.”
Haren, 32, had given up four home runs in a game on four occasions, but never more than four in his 11-year, 297-game career.
“I don’t worry about that, especially in that ballpark,” Johnson said. “Just like I’m not concerned about the bullpen.”
Johnson said he can get an idea of where a pitcher is headed after “five or six starts.” Johnson cited former Orioles teammate Mike Cuellar who “didn’t hardly throw a fastball until it got warm,” Johnson said.
Haren has a career ERA in March/April of 4.20 and in May of 4.31. The 6-foot-5 right-hander has been slightly better in June (3.85) and July (3.75).