Dan Haren takes the mound on Wednesday night against the Pirates in a rather important start for both him and the Dodgers. One night after the bullpen needed to record 13 outs in a loss, Haren needs to pitch deep into Wednesday's series finale not only to help save the bullpen but his own position in the starting rotation.
With off days both Thursday and Monday the Dodgers can skip a spot in the rotation such that it might not be needed again until as late as Aug. 3. Should the Dodgers trade for a starting pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver traded deadline, he could potentially slot in to that spot.
Haren is the prime candidate to be skipped or replaced because he has been so bad of late.
The right-hander has allowed 18 home runs in his last 13 starts, with a 5.25 ERA during that span, and is tied for second in the majors with 20 home runs allowed on the season. But in his last five starts, Haren has a 6.75 ERA and has failed to last five innings in three of five starts, averaging 5.07 inning per start during that span. That stretch even includes a start of seven scoreless innings.
This season the Dodgers have only had starting pitchers fail to last six innings in back-to-back days six times, and fail to last five innings in back-to-back days just once: Hyun-jin Ryu lasted only two innings in the home opener on April 4, followed by Paul Maholm pitching 4⅓ innings on April 5.
Josh Beckett pitched just 3⅔ innings on Tuesday night in his first start back off the disabled list.
Haren allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings against the Pirates on May 29 at Dodger Stadium, including solo home runs by Russell Martin and Pedro Alvarez. Martin is one of only three current Pirates to face Haren more than six plate appearances, and is 9-for-44 (.205) with two doubles, a home run and three walks against him.
Andrew McCutchen is 4-for-12 (.333) with two home runs, a double and a walk against Haren, and Ike Davis is 2-for-11 (.182) with a walk.
Francisco Liriano gets the start for the Pirates, his third start after missing a month on the disabled list with a strained oblique. The left-hander struck out eight in 5⅔ scoreless innings in Los Angeles on May 30, his only win of the season. Liriano at 1-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 16 starts this season is seemingly trying to set himself up for a third career Comeback Player of the Year award, in 2015.
Only three active Dodgers have faced Liriano more than three times. Carl Crawford is 3-for-13 (.231) with two walks, Matt Kemp is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and Drew Butera is 1-for-3 (.333) with a walk.
The Dodgers are 15-9 against left-handed starters this season, and have won eight of their last nine games against southpaws.
Time: 4:05 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA