Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 4/16/13
It's been a rough start to 2013 for Dan Haren, who was a major offseason acquisition for the Washington Nationals. He's under contract for just one year at $13 million based on a track record of significant success over the course of a 10-year career. In seasons where he's pitched 30 or more games, and there are eight of them, Haren only posted an ERA over 4.00 twice. One of those times was last season, when he posted the highest ERA of his career (4.33) when pitching a full season. Early this year, some raw numbers seem to indicate Haren isn't off to a much better start, and perhaps, he's on his way to a worse season. In two games, he's given up nine earned runs and 19 hits in nine innings. His first start of the season in Cincinnati was atrocious for the entire team, including the bullpen, on the way to a 15-0 loss for the team. His second start against the White Sox at home went better, even though he gave up 10 hits. His 22.2% home run per fly ball ratio is also worrisome early. Looking at those facts, it's easy to be concerned. However, with all of those negatives, there are still a number of positives to take from Haren's early performances on the mound. - Walks: While Haren has faced 48 batters in just two games and nine innings, he hasn't walked a single one of them. He may still struggle a little bit with pitch location in the zone, leaving too many pitches up, but he hasn't allowed a single walk. He has hit two batters, though. - Strikeouts: Haren is averaging 10.00 K/9 early in the season. He's not known as a strikeout pitcher, but he's getting enough movement on his pitches to generate quite a few swings and misses. His K/9 ratio will come down, but it's still encouraging to see him missing enough bats to chalk up 10 strikeouts in two games. - BABIP: Haren's Batting Average on Balls In Play is an astronomical .469 early on this season. League average is somewhere around, or just shy of, .300. With the kind of defense the Nationals have once the infield starts to limit their errors, which will happen, he is bound to have far more luck than he's had so far. That translates into fewer hits, fewer runs, and better overall stats. -xFIP: xFIP measures what a pitcher's ERA should have been while taking into account factors like dealing with balls in play and ballpark size. Haren's early xFIP is 4.26, which graded on the ERA scale, is below average, but not terrible for a back of the rotation starter. It's certainly far and away better than his 9.00 ERA would indicate. - Velocity: Fastball velocity was a huge concern for Haren last season with the Angels, averaging 88.5 mph on his fastball, which was the slowest in his career. It's not a huge jump so far this season, but he is averaging 89.3 on that pitch so far. The slight uptick may be a result of a small sample size early in the season when his arm is still strong, but it also may be that he is healthier than he was last season. As Haren toes the rubber today against the fledgling Miami Marlins, who Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals beat 10-3 yesterday, he has a significant opportunity to make this a turning point for his season. He's pitching in one of the friendliest stadiums for a pitcher in the country, and he's facing a terrible offensive lineup. I'd watch closely to see what he's able to do tonight in Miami.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

NFLPA: NFL didn't respond to Tom Brady settlement offer

Tom Coughlin calls Jason Pierre-Paul situation a ‘fiasco’

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Tom Brady lawsuit transferred from Minnesota to Manhattan

LeGarrette Blount failed conditioning test

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Trent Richardson 'reclamation project not going so well'

Geno Smith laughed at being ranked last in QB poll

Penn State trash talks Notre Dame Twitter over 'Rudy'

Report: Aroldis Chapman unlikely to be traded

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies

Affairs of the Hart (Trophy)

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Terry Collins writes letter to widow of longtime Mets fan

Jets fans fly "Cheaters Look Up" banner over Patriots practice

Dodgers upgrade rotation in unexpected, intelligent way

For some NFL players, life begins at undrafted

NBA's Africa game: A tribute to Hakeem Olajuwon

Top storyline for each NFL team heading into training camp

Texas QB commit has great anti-Oklahoma T-shirt

WATCH: Tim Tebow does monster leg workout

Farrell: Sandoval's conditioning 'continues to be addressed'

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

Cole Hamels chose Rangers over Astros

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker