It didn’t take long for Dan Haren to fall apart today. Three runs in the first incited boos in the crowd, and three more in the fourth that put the Nats down 6-0 brought the boo birds out in full force. Accountable to the end, Haren remarked postgame “I’d probably boo myself too.” Ordinarily after a 7-1 loss, the lead story would be the still-stagnant offense, but Haren’s struggles supersede that. He has the worst ERA among all qualified pitchers at 6.15. He is tied for the most home runs allowed in baseball at 19. Opponents have an OPS of .879 against him, second worst in the MLB. He has also allowed an opponents’ slugging percentage of .539, the worst in baseball. The Nats are 0-8 in his last starts. If they had gone 4-4 in those games, they would only trail the Braves by one game instead of five. There’s no two ways about it: Dan Haren is struggling mightily. What is still in question is what will happen to him going forward. Davey Johnson has always had faith in Haren, but admitted that he was “concerned” and will watch Haren’s next bullpen session to see what adjustments he can make. He also hinted that the Nats could skip Haren’s next start, but nothing will be set until the aforementioned throwing session happens. Whatever change may come will be good: nothing could be worse than Haren is now.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Anthony Rendon‘s double (+3.7%)
Since the Nationals came to the plate for the first time already trailing by three, it was hard for any hit to matter. However, the offense looked as though it might make a show of this game. Rendon doubled off Jhoulys Chacin to give the Nats a runner in scoring position with one out, but he would be stranded. His was one of just two extra-base hits on the game for the Nats, the other being Ryan Zimmerman‘s ninth inning home run.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: DJ LeMahieu‘s solo home run (-10.7%)
Haren wasted no time in giving the Rockies the lead. In the top of the first, after he retired Dexter Fowler, LeMahieu took Haren deep to left to put the Rockies on top, 1-0. The homer was LeMahieu’s first of the season. It would get worse for Haren in the frame, as two doubles and a single led to two more runs being scored before Haren escaped, albeit with the damage already done.
Champ of the Game: Denard Span (+3.2%) had been struggling recently, but went 2-4 today with a pair of singles. Of course, he was stranded both times. Chacín (+19.2%) was great for Colorado, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk in seven innings. He was also 1-3 with an RBI at the plate.
Chump of the Game: Obviously, this was Haren (-33.3%), who allowed six runs on seven hits in just 3.1 innings. For Colorado, Fowler (-3.8%) was 1-5 with a strikeout, but his lone hit came in the top of the ninth as the Rockies led 7-0.