Originally posted 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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Majority of FIFA sponsors demanding independent review on reforms

Zack Greinke expected to choose between Dodgers, Giants by end of week

Reports: David Price, Red Sox agree to seven-year, $217 million contract

LSU officials’ media leaks about Les Miles blew up in their faces

Sam Bradford returns to practice, but does it matter for broken Eagles?

Cam Newton won’t be ‘lured in’ by talk of undefeated season


Report: Miami job is Mark Richt’s 'if he wants it'

WATCH: Cowboys’ security guard being investigated for choking Panthers fan

Mariners ‘trying hard’ to trade Mark Trumbo before Wednesday’s tender deadline

Bill Belichick: Patriots always looking to improve win or lose

NFL: Refs did not blow calls on Ravens' blocked FG return

Roethlisberger: I’ll play through any injury but a brain injury

Mid-American Conference Championship preview

Lakers trying to decide which Kobe Bryant jersey number to retire

Matthew Dellavedova is becoming a better passer

Ryan Kesler says the Ducks are 'too good not to be in the playoffs'

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

WATCH: LSU releases video to honor Leonard Fournette

Report: Jim Hackett’s tenure as Michigan’s interim AD is ending

Josh Norman pretends to be a movie character each game

Ex-Giants OL Chris Snee 'wanted to see the Jets lose all the time'

Kyle Long gives Bears tickets to trash collector who found wallet

Last of a dying breed: Kobe's retirement marks end of an era

Are the Houston Rockets looking to trade Ty Lawson?

Anonymous agent: Lakers have 'no plan and no leadership'

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

MAC Championship preview

Tiger Woods’ career inches closer to an end after gloomy injury update

QUIZ: Name every NCAA football national champion since 1950

Browns lose to Ravens as only the Browns know how

NCAA figures out how to invite 5-7 teams to bowls

Ranking top Heisman Trophy candidates

Have the New Orleans Saints given up?

This weekend in NFL stupid, ft. Rex Ryan

Missouri won’t accept a bowl bid at 5-7

Durant blasts media on behalf of Kobe

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker