Dan Haren was asked after tonight's 6-5 Nationals loss, a loss that dropped them to 48-51 on the season and eight games back of the Braves in the National League East, whether he thinks the Nats have reached their low-point, or "rock bottom," as one reporter phrased it.
"That I don't know," Haren said. "Obviously the mood in the clubhouse right now isn't really good. I haven't really talked to the guys about how they're feeling about today with Eck being gone, but yeah, it was a tough day for the organization and I don't know if we've hit rock-bottom. I don't have the answer for you."
Prior to tonight, Haren had allowed just two runs in 11 innings since coming off the disabled list July 8. Tonight, he allowed five over five innings. Four of those runs were on Andrew McCutchen homers, which came in the first and third innings.
"I felt good, made those mistakes up in the zone and that's kinda been the story of the year for me," Haren said. "Every mistake I've made, I've paid the price for it. If I could take those two pitches back, things would be a lot different, but the fact of the matter is, I can't."
Both of the pitches that resulted in the homers were center-cut, right there for McCutchen to get the barrel of the bat to them.
"Just really been the story of my season," Haren said. "I've been down, down, down and being successful and then getting a few pitches up and paying the price for it. It's like that for a lot of pitches, but for me especially."
Haren might've gotten a bad break in the third when he hit Starling Marte on the arm with a pitch. Marte was awarded first base even though the pitch wasn't far off the plate inside and Marte appeared to be dangling over the plate a bit. Two batters later, McCutchen launched his second homer of the game.
"I didn't take a look at it, but someone else did," Haren said. "It looked like he was hanging over the plate a little bit to me. Someone else mentioned he was over the plate, but, going up against a guy like McCutchen, you want to keep the guys off base in front of him, and tonight, all three at-bats, he came up with someone on."
It seems like every time Haren looks like he's ready to turn a corner this season, he gives up a couple homers and suffers a bit of setback. He's now allowed 21 home runs on the year, most among NL pitchers.
"I mean, it's really just the same story," Haren said. "I'm able to get strikeouts, I'm not walking too many guys, but the home runs have just killed me. A very high percentage of the runs I've given up this year have been from the home run. Just not able to minimize it. When I've been successful this year, I've been able to keep the ball down and get the ball on the ground, but just giving up way too many home runs."
Adam LaRoche was asked after the game whether the Nats take any positives out of their near comeback tonight, or whether it's too late to pull silver linings when the team is still scuffling 99 games into the season.
"No, not at this point. We're looking for anything positive to take out of a ballgame, and that was a great run late," LaRoche said. "Tying run in scoring position (in the ninth) and one hit away, which you can't expect to drive that run in every time. We don't give ourselves that many opportunities right there. So it was nice to have. Again, fought back from what looked like a blowout early on and pushed some runs across. So nice offensively to see that, especially with he took a no-hitter into the fourth or fifth against us. So, good turnaround."
Jayson Werth doesn't care to talk about his recent hot streak, preferring to leave the reasons for his power surge to himself. LaRoche was willing to discuss what he's seen out of Werth lately, however.
"Yeah, it's great, it's great to see that," LaRoche said. "He's always had that kind of power and you watch him take BP and do it every-other swing, so to now put it into play in the game is great. He's a guy that prides himself on taking a lot of pitches and going deep into counts and I think he's kinda now picking and choosing some spots to kind of be a little more aggressive and show that power. So pretty good the last two nights."