Right-hander Dan Haren got off to a rocky start Friday night, allowing six runs in a 15-0 setback at Cincinnati. Haren surrendered four homers.
On Saturday, left-hander Ross Detwiler did not even allow an earned run in a no-decision over six frames. The Nationals eventually won 7-6, in 11 innings.
Detwiler looked consistent in scattering six hits. Haren gave up nine hits in just four innings. It is early in the season, but should the Nationals be concerned with their biggest offseason pitching acquisition?
With the Angels last season, Haren was placed on the disabled list in the middle of the season due to stiffness in his lower back. Haren admitted that his back had bothered him since spring training of the year.
With the way Haren looked Friday, and coming off struggles this spring training with the Nationals, could there be something wrong with Haren this season as well?
Haren did not say anything physically was bothering him after Friday's loss.
"I've had my share of bad games along with good games," Haren told the Washington Post. "They're tough to deal with. But the sooner you forget about it, the better. It's still a long season."
But the stark contrast between Detwiler's masterful performance and Haren's early struggles will be closely monitored in April. The Nationals also have veteran Chris Young getting stretched out in Florida before reporting to Triple-A Syracuse. The former Mets and Padres starter could become a necessary asset sooner rather than later.