Sports

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

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.