Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unhittable Haren Stymies Tribe; Bourn, Pence Lead Astros Past Cubs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 11, 2011

American League

Dan Haren
When the LA Angels plucked Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks prior to the trade deadline last season, he was supposed to help them catch the Rangers and win the AL West division. The plan didn't quite work out, though it was hardly Haren's fault, as he went 5-4 in 14 starts for the Halos.

Finding themselves in a similar situation to begin the 2011 campaign - chasing the Rangers - Haren is doing everything in his power to keep LA close to the top. On Tuesday, he won his third straight without a loss, tossing a one-hitter at the Cleveland Indians en route to a 2-0 win.

It was Haren's 12th complete game and third shutout of his 9-year major league career, and it was a doozy, the only hit coming in the 4th inning when Shin-Soo Choo lifted a single to center field. After that, Haren set down 17 of the next 18 batters he faced, allowing only a 7th inning walk to Carlos Santana and finishing up by retiring the last eight batters he faced.

Haren walked two and struck out eight, giving him 21 on the year, good for third in the AL, behind teammate Jared Weaver (27) and Edwin Jackson (24) of the White Sox. Incidentally, Haren and Weaver have accounted for all six of the Angel wins.

The numbers for Haren are off-the-charts. In 24 2/3 innings, he's allowed 11 hits and just 2 earned runs, for an ERA of 0.73 and a 0.53 WHIP. Opposing batters are hitting .131 against him.

The Angles trail Texas by three games in the division.

National League

Hunter Pence
Michael Bourn
Michael Bourn went 2-for-5, stole two bases and scored four runs and Hunter Pence went 3-for-5 with four RBI to pace the Astros in just their third win of the season, an 11-2 scorching of the Chicago Cubs.

That the Astros are already five games back in the NL Central is hardly surprising. Beyond leadoff hitter Bourne and #3 man, Pence, Houston doesn't offer much in the way of punch on offense. Bourn leads the team in runs and steals, while Pence is Houston's RBI king, with 9. The Astros have the distinction of being last in the majors in home runs, with only one to their credit.

Making matters worse, their best starting pitcher appears to be Brett Myers, who earned the his first win of the season with seven innings of 1-run ball. The Astros could very well supplant the Pirates as this season's NL Central cellar dweller.

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