Are the Dodgers about to dump Dan Haren?

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Dan Haren finished last season strong for the Nationals, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers this offseason, and got off to a nice start in Los Angeles.

However, since June 1 he has a 6.04 ERA in 10 starts and has served up 13 homers in 52 innings, which is why the Dodgers are seemingly thinking about dumping the 33-year-old former All-Star from the rotation. His being 58 innings short of triggering a $15 million option for 2015 is also a big factor.

Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles reports that Haren’s turn in the rotation will be skipped at least once, meaning he won’t start again before August 2, and between Josh Beckett’s impending return from the disabled list and the July 31 trade deadline arriving next week he might be out of a job altogether.

When asked about Haren’s status, manager Don Mattingly gave a non-answer:

Danny has kept us in a lot of games. The last couple haven’t been great. Again, now is not the time to sit here and discuss Danny’s next start or his future or anything else.

Even if Haren sticks in the rotation for now there’s no way the Dodgers will want to be on the hook for $15 million on him next season, so something will change down the stretch.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.