The 13th to 30
There were several remarkable aspects to Dan Haren’s solid start on Friday night against Philadelphia. It marked the fifth time in six starts since his return from the disabled list that he allowed two or fewer runs in an outing. He struck out five or more (seven, to be exact) without a walk for the fifth time this year. But perhaps more impressively, it was the first time in the 11-year veteran’s career, during which he spent parts of six seasons in the National League, that he had ever beaten the Phillies.
When Ian Krol rung up Darin Ruf looking to end the game, Haren could officially claim a piece of baseball lore. He became just the 13th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to beat all 30 franchises in his career.
While that feat has been made more accessible by the advent of Interleague Play and the higher frequency of today’s players changing teams, specialized pitching roles and pitch limits have made it harder and harder to earn wins as a starter. And regardless of other mitigating factors, the list is a rather illustrious one:
Kevin Brown (211 wins, six-time All-Star)
A.J. Burnett (142 wins)
Randy Johnson (303 wins, 10-time All-Star, five-time Cy Young)
Al Leiter (162 wins, two-time All-Star)
Derek Lowe (176 wins, two-time All-Star)
Jamie Moyer (269 wins, All-Star)
Terry Mulholland (124 wins, All-Star)
Vicente Padilla (108 wins, All-Star)
Curt Schilling (216 wins, six-time All-Star)
Javier Vazquez (165 wins, All-Star)
Woody Williams (132 wins, All-Star)
Barry Zito (164 wins, three-time All-Star, Cy Young)
That group includes one sure-fire Hall of Famer, a couple borderline candidates, and 11 All-Stars, six of whom were selected for the Midsummer Classic multiple times. Haren, of course, is a three-time All-Star himself, and earned his 126th career victory with Friday night’s triumph.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Haren of the feat, of which he had become aware back in July, the last time he faced the Phillies. “I think it’s something to be proud of, it shows longevity. I face them a couple more times this year, hopefully I’ll get the same result.”
Haren’s performances have been consistent with his heralded career since his return to action on July 8. His 2.43 ERA (10 ER/37.0 IP) is easily the best in the Washington starting rotation over that stretch, during which he has struck out 39 batters while walking just eight, good for a 4.88 K/BB rate.
His overall ERA of 4.99 is the lowest it has been since May 14, and just the second time he has ended a start under the 5.00 mark this season.
“I’ve had a little bit of luck and I’ve pitched a little better,” he explained of the difference in results, also noting that his split-fingered pitch has been particularly sharp, aiding his elevated strikeout numbers. “Put those together and good things happen.”