LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers send Dan Haren to the mound on Monday night against the Marlins in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Haren throughout his last start, Wednesday in Washington D.C. against the Nationals, was constantly bending over and stretching. After allowing three runs in six innings in a loss, Haren downplayed the stiffness in his back, saying hardly a day goes by that something isn't stiff.
Manager Don Mattingly didn't sound concerned about Haren's back stiffness, saying Haren hasn't shown up on any medical reports in the last week. But perhaps of more concern is Haren's last two starts.
After four walks in five starts in April, Haren has five walks in two May starts. The right-hander said several times during spring training and in April that his goal was to keep the ball down. In April he did just that with a 54.7 percent ground ball rate that was far above his 42.7 percent career rate. In May, and again we are talking about just two starts, his ground ball rate is just 30 percent.
Tom Koehler has been a pleasant surprise for the Marlins so far this season, allowing two or fewer runs in six of his seven starts. Despite having a below-average strikeout rate (16.1 percent; National League rate is 21.0 percent) and a below-average walk rate (9.4 percent vs. NL rate of 7.8 percent), Koehler has a 1.99 ERA in seven starts.
Koehler takes a 15-inning scoreless streak into his Monday start, including seven scoreless innings against the Dodgers on May 2. His 50 percent ground ball rate ranks 37th among 106 qualified pitchers in baseball. Haren is 47th at 47.4 percent.
The Dodgers have beaten the Marlins in three straight series in Los Angeles, going 6-3 against them at Dodger Stadium dating back to 2011.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA