The Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitching has weathered the loss of its ace with some impressive work, and Dan Haren's resurgence has been a big part of it.
The veteran right-hander will try for his fourth win in five starts since joining the Dodgers in the finale of a four-game home set with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
Haren (3-0, 2.16 ERA) has allowed six earned runs as the Dodgers (13-9) have won each game he's started with the staff collectively trying to fill the absence of Clayton Kershaw. The last time out, he survived a four-run inning and went on to make it through 7 1-3 while allowing two earned runs in an 8-6 home victory Saturday over Arizona.
"(Haren) rebounded from that, and kept going," manager Don Mattingly told the team's official website. "He was really good for us, gave our bullpen the shot it needed."
Haren hasn't been quite as good against Philadelphia. In eight starts, he's 1-4 with a 5.09 ERA and his team has lost seven times. Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd has roughed him up with a 10-for-21 mark with two home runs, two doubles and a triple.
Philadelphia (10-11) counters with Kyle Kendrick, who hasn't been quite as fortunate as Haren this season. Kendrick (0-2, 3.60) yielded three runs in seven innings of Saturday's 3-1 loss in Colorado. Manager Ryne Sandberg was impressed with the outing, given the Rockies' offensive track record at Coors Field.
"This is a place where you need to score runs," Sandberg told the team's official website. "There's no question about it. That's why I give Kendrick a lot of credit with the game he pitched."
Kendrick has been far worse at Dodger Stadium, going 1-3 with a 9.15 ERA in four starts. Los Angeles' Yasiel Puig is 5 for 6 against the right-hander.
Puig played a big role in Thursday's 5-2 win as the Dodgers avoided losing the first three games of the set and spoiled Cole Hamels' season debut. The right fielder went 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBIs from the leadoff spot to improve to 5 for 13 in the series.
Hanley Ramirez also went 2 for 4 with a home run and a double to break out of a 2-for-22 slump and support Zack Greinke's seven-inning, 11-strikeout gem, which dropped the Dodgers' rotation ERA to 2.68. Their starters have lost three games, which is tied for the lowest total in baseball.
Hamels allowed two runs in six innings as the Phillies' rotation continued to do its job in the series. In 20 2-3 innings, the starters have allowed four runs. The bullpen, though, has struggled all season. After allowing three runs in relief of Hamels, Phillies relievers have an MLB-worst 5.64 ERA.
Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon was out of the lineup after being removed from Tuesday's game after a sliding collision while stealing third base. Gordon, batting .369 with an MLB-best 12 stolen bases, passed a concussion test and could return Thursday.
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is 8 for 17 with seven RBIs in his last four games.
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