Dan Haren has been significantly better since coming off the disabled list than he was before that DL stint. And today might just have been his best start as a National to this point.
Haren went seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out six and threw 103 pitches, 73 for strikes.
This was vintage Haren, folks. The veteran right-hander kept the ball down in the zone, had great movement on his offspeed stuff and his splitter, and mixed his pitches nicely.
The only balls really hit that hard off him were two very long foul balls off the bat of David Wright that went just to the left of the left field foul pole, and a David Murphy flyout to left to end the third inning.
Other than that, Haren did a really nice job of keeping Mets hitters off balance, and he leaves with the Nationals holding a 4-1 lead.
Since returning from 15 days on the DL to rest an inflamed shoulder, Haren has allowed more than two earned runs in just one of his four outings.
He has a 3.13 ERA in those four outings, compared to a 6.15 ERA pre-DL stint.
Haren held the Marlins scoreless over six innings two starts ago, allowing three hits and a walk and striking out seven. That was a dynamite performance.
Today’s was just as good, if not even a little better.
Tyler Clippard followed Haren by delivering a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts, his 15th straight scoreless inning of work.
The Nats are three defensive outs from their second straight win.
Update: With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, the skies opened up and we’re now in a rain delay.
It started pouring out of nowhere here at Nats Park, and the grounds crew quickly got the tarp on the field.
Rafael Soriano will have to wait a bit before having a chance to untuck.
Update II: The tarp has been pulled off the field and they’ve announced an estimated restart time of 6:15 p.m.
Update III: We’re back under way after a rain delay of 1:02.
Soriano will work the ninth in a 4-1 game.
Update IV: That’ll do it. Soriano pitched a clean ninth and the Nationals locked up a 4-1 win.
Haren gets just his fifth win in 19 starts and Soriano gets his 26th save.
The Nats have now won two in a row and three of their last four. Baby steps, I guess. Baby steps.