Dan Haren needs a win in the worst of ways.
The Washington Nationals will look to provide their right-hander with an elusive victory when they host the New York Mets on Saturday afternoon.
Haren (4-11, 5.79 ERA) has gone a career-high 11 starts without a victory. Worse yet, the Nationals have lost each of those games.
Haren, against whom opposing batters are hitting .285 during his slump, has failed to pitch deep into games. He hasn't recorded an out in the seventh inning since May 30.
The Nationals (50-54) haven't done much to help him out, scoring 12 runs during Haren's skid.
That carried into his last start, when they spotted Haren a run in five innings, while he allowed five in a 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday.
Washington's offense hasn't been helping any of its pitchers lately. The Nationals have averaged 2.7 runs per game while losing 12 of 16. They've been particularly cold with runners in scoring position during that stretch, batting .117 after going 0 for 8 in Friday's doubleheader split against the Mets.
The Nationals did manage to create some late offense Friday, as Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth emerged from slumps. Werth was 2 for his last 13 before going 3 for 3 in Friday's nightcap. Zimmerman, meanwhile, hit the walk-off home run in Washington's 2-1 victory. The third baseman is 8 for his last 14 after going hitless in his previous 15 at_bats.
Haren has been dreadful in his last four starts against the Mets, posting an 8.14 ERA. On June 5, the Mets (46-54) reached him for three home runs in four innings of a 10-1 win. Marlon Byrd was responsible for two of those blasts, while David Wright added one of his own.
Byrd has owned Haren, going 10 for 18 with two homers, two doubles and a triple. Daniel Murphy, who went 6 for 9 in Friday's doubleheader and is 11 for his last 17, is 3 for 7 with a home run against Haren.
While Haren looks to overcome past shortcomings against the Mets, Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.07) tries to remain perfect against the Nationals in 2013. The right-hander has won all three of his starts versus Washington this year, compiling a 0.96 ERA. That included six innings of one-run ball June 29 in a 5-1 victory at Citi Field.
Gee has gone six straight starts without a loss and hasn't surrendered an earned run in 13 2-3 innings.
"He's always changing speeds. He's always moving it around. You're really not getting the same pitch twice,' manager Terry Collins said. "That's what's made him successful."
On Monday, he held Atlanta to two hits in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1 loss. That included getting out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh with a fielder's choice and a strikeout.
"That was satisfying because I wasn't doing that at all early in the year, getting out of jams like that," Gee said. "It was nice to get out of one for once and still keep us in the game."
Walk-off win aside, Friday was a trying day for Washington. Bryce Harper aggravated a left knee injury, according to manager Davey Johnson, in the doubleheader opener and pinch hit in the nightcap, and some controversy surrounded Drew Storen's unsuccessful relief appearance while suffering from the flu and his subsequent demotion to Triple A-Syracuse.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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