Dan Haren Checks Out Early (Yet Again) During 4-3 D-Backs Loss to Philadelphia Phillies

Dan Haren mustered only five innings of work in last night's loss to Philadelphia.
Dan Haren mustered only five innings of work in last night's loss to Philadelphia.
If there's one thing that Diamondbacks fans have usually been able to bank on during this season of perpetual inconsistency, it's the near-constant dominance of pitcher Dan Haren. Well, up until this past week, that is.

For the second time in as many outings, Arizona's All-Star pitcher managed only five innings of work, helping doom the D-Backs in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies last night.

It's a no-brainer as to why Danny Boy made an early exit this time, as he was facing down Philadelphia's smokin'-hot offense. Haren's reserves seemed enormously taxed, and he needed an astronomical 117 pitches to deal with such league-leading batters as Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley. His fast ball proved particularly ineffective against Shane Victorino, as the All-Star slugger walloped a home run deep into the seats in the third inning.

It all fell apart during the fifth as both Haren and the Diamondbacks' defense faltered. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels hit a swooping double into center field (after getting a whopping seven pitches from his opponent) right before Jimmy Rollins made it to first base on a throwing error by Stephen Drew and Victorino's grounder resulted in a run. Utley then reached, and Rollins scored on a fielder's choice by Chad Tracy. (The D-Backs' bullpen combo of Scott Schoeneweis and Juan Gutierrez also allowed a Philly run off an RBI grounder by Jayson Werth in the seventh frame.)

The game was surely a disappointment for many of the 25,044 in attendance at Chase Field who came out expecting to see a pitching showdown between Haren and Hamels. For his part, the World Series MVP was near-flawless through eight innings, scattering five hits (including a downtowner by Ryan Roberts to start the game) and dispensing with Arizona's lineup in 1-2-3 fashion for most of their at-bats. There was the making of a late-game comeback when Mark Reynolds produced a two-run moonshot in the final frame, but Phillies reliever Brad Lidge quickly brought the game to a (merciful) end.

The Snakes will attempt to salvage at least one win and avoid a sweep to the defending world champs during tonight's series-ender, which starts at 6:40. We won't be holding our breath, since the execrable Yusmeiro Petit (0-5, 7.68) will be handling the ball against J.A. Happ (7-1, 2.97). TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR-AM 620. More info: www.dbacks.com.


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