The Dodgers begin their post break gauntlet with Dan Haren on the mound against the Cardinals in St. Louis, the first day of a three-game weekend series and the opener of a nine-game road trip with the opponents with a combined winning percentage of .535.
Haren was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2001 draft out of Pepperdine, but only pitched in 28 games in two seasons with St. Louis, leaving as the key piece headed to Oakland in the Mark Mulder trade in 2004.
First baseman Daric Barton, rated by Baseball America as the No. 32 prospect in baseball heading into 2005, went with Haren from St. Louis to Oakland, and has spent a decade shuttling back and forth between the A's major league roster and minor league affiliates, and off and on their 40-man roster. Now in Triple-A Sacramento, Barton hit a triple and scored the winning run in the 10th inning to beat Albuquerque on Thursday night.
Haren's last four starts have been all over the place. He mixed in his best outing of the year, keeping the ball down and allowing just one hit and one walk in seven scoreless innings to beat the Indians on June 30, but five days later he allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 5⅓ innings at Coors Field, weirdly enough also striking out eight with no walks in that game. His other two starts in his last four included a pair of games in which he couldn't get out of the fifth inning, a far cry from the pitcher who lasted at least six innings in 11 of his last 12 starts.
After a dismal first half in 2013 with the Nationals, Haren was steady after the All-Star break, putting up a 3.52 ERA with nine home runs in 14 games, including 13 starts, along with 70 strikeouts and 14 walks in 76⅔ innings. This was after a start to 2013 that saw him allow 19 home runs in 15 starts, a run similar to his current stretch of 17 home runs in his last 12 starts, with a 5.22 ERA during that span.
Haren has only pitched twice in St. Louis since he was traded away, and both came with the Diamondbacks, a pair of eight-inning starts in 2009-2010, allowing six total runs, four earned.
Lance Lynn was drafted by the Cardinals in the supplemental first round in 2008. The right-hander had allowed seven total runs in his first four career starts against the Dodgers, over 23⅓ innings, including a win in Game 4 of the 2013 NLCS. But on June 28 in Los Angeles, Lynn gave up seven runs and only recorded six outs in a loss at Dodger Stadium.
Time: 5:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA