An impressive beginning for Haren (Haren outduels Fernandez)

You cannot predict baseball.

Try as hard as you might, you just can’t.

Stephen Strasburg entered last night’s game with a 2.45 ERA. He allowed seven runs over just two innings in a loss to the Marlins.

Dan Haren entered tonight with a 6.00 ERA. He’s thrown four scoreless innings against the Marlins, with six strikeouts.

Haren has looked really sharp thus far tonight, allowing just two measly singles and a walk and pitching out of the only real jam he’s been in - when Jeff Mathis reached second base with one out in the third.

Haren then got Justin Ruggiano swinging and Ed Lucas to ground out to end the inning.

The location has been much better for Haren tonight than it had been in earlier starts, and the splitter has been pretty sharp.

The Nationals gave Haren a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Bryce Harper scored on a Jayson Werth sac fly, which was a pretty solid baseball play all around.

Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna grabbed Werth’s sinking liner and delivered an on-target, one-hop throw to the plate. Harper tagged and came barreling in on Mathis, the Marlins’ catcher tonight, who turned his head to brace for contact and had the ball bounce off his glove.

Harper ricocheted off Mathis and touched the plate for the first run of the game.

The Nats haven’t gotten much off Marlins flamethrower Jose Fernandez, but they have the lead.

Update: Not only did Haren vastly outpitch Strasburg, he also outdueled Fernandez, an All-Star this year.

Haren is done after six scoreless innings of work, having allowed just three hits and a walk. He struck out seven and threw 90 pitches, 55 of which were strikes.

Fernandez, meanwhile, allowed one run on four hits and three walks in his six innings. Pretty solid stuff, just not as good as Haren.

This was the type of outing that Haren badly needed, and the Nats needed to see he still had this in him.

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