Yesterday’s game was the first real test for Dan Haren as a Washington National, and I have to say, he passed with flying colors*. Haren went four innings allowing five hits and two runs while striking out two and walking none against a lineup with seven major leaguers (on the American League champion Detroit Tigers no less) in it. Only RBI base hits by Alex Avila and Don Kelly were blemishes on Haren’s outing. The zero walks was also nice to see as that is what makes Haren very effective.
* I initially typed colours. Blame it on my Canadianism. By the way, what a baseball game in the World Baseball Classic yesterday, eh?** Felt like last year’s NLDS for me, even down to the final two innings but it was fun nonetheless.
** Yes, that was an intentional “eh?”
Washington also got great pitching performance from their bullpen as Drew Storen, Yunesky Maya, Ryan Mattheus and Cole Kimball all pitched scoreless innings allowing only two hits and striking out three in their four combined innings. Storen struck out two hitters in his only inning of work as he continues to improve as the Spring moves on which is what you love to see.
Offensively, it was a little dry for Washington which is to be expected when you have only two regulars in your starting lineup (and it only gets worse from there.) The Nationals could only muster four hits off of Tiger pitching and they scored their only run on a Matt Skole sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
Harper had one of the four hits. The others went to Tyler Moore, Chad Tracy and Skole had one as well. Moore and Corey Brown have been used a lot this Spring, mostly due to Roger Bernadina being at the World Baseball Classic with the Netherlands. So far, it looks like Moore is securing his place on the team and Brown is looking more and more likely to be the odd man out of the outfield situation with Carlos Rivero breathing down his neck as the team’s sixth outfielder.