Thursday in the Nationals’ series finale against the White Sox, and the wait will end for Dan Haren. From the moment he walked off the mound in Cincinnati after his disappointing Nationals debut, it has seemed like far more than five days.
“When I get out of those games – when anyone has a bad game – you just want to get back out there,” Haren said. “It feels like an eternity. The five days in between just seem like forever. I just look forward to getting out there.”
Thursday night against Chicago, Haren will have a second chance to make a first impression. In his Nationals Park debut, Haren will try to bounce back from the four-inning, four-homer clunker against the Reds in which he yielded six runs on nine hits.
Haren watched some video from his first start of the season, but not much. He prefers not to dwell on bad games, but he did review some of the mistakes he made.
“Bad games, I like to look a little bit at what burnt me that particular game,” Haren said. “But there’s only so much negative reinforcement that I think is healthy for someone. I’d rather just more look at the positives and try to build off it.”
And, despite the horrendous line score — four innings, nine hits, six earned runs — there were some positives. Haren induced nine swing-and-misses, more than any Nationals starter in the first time through the rotation. He walked none and struck out five. He thought his sequencing, and when he tried to induce no contact, is what led to getting hit hard.
“I had plenty of strikeouts and swing-and-misses,” Haren said. “I think it’s being a little bit smarter about when I get those swing-and-misses. I was getting them a lot of them earlier in the count. Stuff-wise, it was there in the beginning. The solo homers aren’t the ones that usually beat you. That three-run homer is what really killed me.”
Starting tomorrow, Haren won’t have to think about it anymore.