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Haren’s resurgence continues

Aug 10, 2013, 3:51 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images

In his absolute lowest moments, Dan Haren never tried to sugarcoat things, never tried to make excuses for his lousy performance, never shied away from the criticism heaped upon him before he was unceremoniously dumped on the disabled list with a dubious physical ailment.

“Baseball is an incredibly humbling game,” the veteran right-hander said. “When you’re up, it’ll just knock you right down. I couldn’t have really gotten much lower than I did when I was on the DL. I mean, I was a bad start or two away from getting released, probably. That’s just the truth of it, I think. I definitely feel way better the way I’m pitching now. This is more me.”

The version of Haren that tossed seven standout innings Friday night during the Nationals’ 9-2 thumping of the Phillies, and the version that has consistently pitched well since returning to the active roster one month ago, is exactly the guy the Nats thought they were getting last winter.

It may be too little, too late. But if nothing else, it’s restoring Haren’s faith in himself, not to mention his teammates’ faith in him.
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  1. JaneB - Aug 10, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    I really respect the guy, much as he has scared me. He is a class act.

  2. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:37 AM

    Phil Wood said in the post game Haren misses his family a lot, and probably would prefer to play on the West Coast. It was inconceivable in June that anyone would consider making Haren an offer for 2014–as he himself pointed out he was one bad start from getting released.

  3. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    I am glad he found his game, but he will not be here next year, anyway.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    If you're Rizzo, do you try to re-sign him?

  5. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Seamhead, too early. He would have to do this for another month and a half and still take a big pay cut (which he probably wouldn't if he did). Also would depend on Detwiler's health, in which I have almost less faith than Haren's.

  6. natscan reduxit - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    … while sipping my morning coffee, and noting what Davey J had to say in an earlier post, I reply:"He [D. Johnson] also thinks the players may have been affected by their preseason expectations to contend for a World Series."… a-hem. Who, I ask you, was it who with a big know-it-all grin on his face began the year by making that audacious statement to begin with?Go Nats!

  7. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Unless you think the national and local baseball press are just a bunch of lemmings who based their near unanimous predictions of the Nats in the World Series entirely on that comment Davey made, you'd have to agree that his comment had very little to do with whatever feelings of raised expectations the team had this year.Good thing the Notre Dame players didn't let the expectation of having to win one for the Gipper get to them.

  8. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    If Haren was really such a stand-up guy, he'd be picking up a napkin right about now, writing a number in the low seven figures on it, and handing it to Rizzo saying "I peetch for this next year."

  9. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Yeah, I love me some Livo, charming guy, got his autographed jersey–but face it, the man was in debt up to his ears and desperate for a major-league job. Not exactly the same.

  10. Nats 128 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Haren looked like good Haren and LaRoche found his glove. The game was still far from perfect and the order of the lineup still isnt clicking.Best Desmond has looked at the plate in a while.

  11. Nats 128 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Fernando Rodney with one of the worst meltdowns of the year. Dodgers come back 6-0 and down 6-3 to walkoff in the 9th.

  12. Nats 128 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Storen (H, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K

  13. natscan reduxit - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    … the scribes and ink-stained wretches had every right to forecast a WS appearance, based not on DJ's words but on last season's promise. … but it was the players themselves who would have been, and were, swayed by their own leader's bravado. They are the ones who drank the Kool-Aid. That they believed Davey could do no wrong (since he had the balls to predict such glory) and was about to lead them to the promised land is now clearly evident. The media merely tagged along behind.Go Nats!

  14. Tegwar - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Haren's win against the Phillies puts him on the list with 12 other pitchers who have victories against all 30 MLB teams.Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, Terry Mulholland,Curt Schilling, Woody Williams, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, Javier Vazquez, Vicente Padilla, Derrek Lowe, A.J. Burnett, Dan Haren.If he clears waivers and the Nats can pick up a B to B+ prospect they should trade him even if they have to pick up some of his contract. He does not have a future with this team Rizzo will not risk making the same mistake twice.

  15. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    So you think the Nats would have done better if every news organization in the world had said "this team is good enough to make the World Series" and Davey told his boys "Don't believe it. You're not that good."?Motivating players is such tricky business.

  16. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    And last year, when Davey said "If we don't win the division, they should fire me", that was okay? What's the moral here? Set your sights high, but not that high?

  17. DaveB - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Feel … I absolutely agree that motivating players is tricky business. However, I also absolutely think there was a huge difference in how to do that last year vs. this one. Last year the team had no history of success and absolutely needed someone to get them to believe in themselves. This year, I believe that Davey decided that they needed even that next bump in confidence to get them to believe that they could win playoff games … unfortunately that might well have combined with all of the press releases to cause the team to head into the year feeling "entitled" instead of "hungry"?

  18. Section 222 - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    All the preseason predictions and bravado have made the Nats' failure much tougher on us fans, but I honestly don't think they had an impact on the players performance. They just aren't as good as everyone thought. It's never easy to win consistently over 162 games, and the Nats just didn't have the spark this year. Plus, their hitting stinks. Now, whether the overconfidence had an impact on how hard they worked on fundamentals is another story. It's clear they didn't fix some obvious weaknesses from last year, most notably the inability to prevent opposing teams from stealing bases, and to lay down sacrifice bunts consistently. I don't know if that's due to a "country club" spring training that was the byproduct of "World Series or bust" or not. It's also possible that Davey was affected by preseason expectations, to the team's detriment. He seemed to manage as if an offensive explosion and a lights out bullpen was just around the corner, rather than fighting to win each and every game, one run at a time. He expected that Zim's throwing would be fine by June, that Espi would figure things out, that ALR would overcome his slow start, that H-Rod would find himself if he kept on running him out there (I'm still in pain over the May game he gave away against the Braves), etc etc etc.I was looking for a friend's email address, and found an exchange from almost exactly a year ago — August 9, 2012. On that day she emailed me about the possibility of getting playoff tickets. How times change.

  19. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Don't give up the ship, 222. Cards have a ridiculously hard schedule, may have been playing above their heads, and the Reds don't scare me much either.Of course, until mid-July I was saying the same thing about the Barves.I also voted for McGovern in 1972. Never met a longshot I didn't like.

  20. John C. - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    You're not going to get a B or B+ prospect for Haren after a few good starts, even if you paid most of his salary. His season has just been too uneven. OK, bad. Right now he's worth more to the Nationals than to other teams because: (a) if the renaissance is real, he's the best option to keep their (very small) playoff chances alive; and (b) having Haren in the rotation allows Nate Karns and A.J. Cole to stay in the minor leagues working on their craft instead of being rushed to the majors. That's in the long term best interests of the organization. Once Taylor Jordan hits his innings limit then we can expect to see Roark or Ohlendorf in the rotation. Karns will see some time in DC in September. This will also allow the team to keep from adding Cole to the major league roster, which will keep his option status intact.

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