I worried before the game that his emergency relief appearance this last weekend might have a lingering effect on Dan Haren, but he proved in a big way tonight that those worries were completely baseless.
Angels 2, Indians 0
Instead of suggesting that Haren might be off his game because of one inning of relief work as I did in the game preview (umm, oops!), I am now changing my tune entirely and wondering if he should pitch in relief between starts all the time. He didn't just dominate the red-hot Indians tonight, he toyed with them and kept them from getting anything at all going but for one flare that went for a base hit.
What I loved about this display of dominance is what it forebodes for the rest of the season. There is obviously a lot of baseball left to be played this year, but with the way both Weaver and Haren are pitching so far, the Angels can be very, very scary the rest of the way and even scarier in a best-of-seven series (if you see what I'm hinting at).
And kudos to Mike Scioscia for leaving Haren in there to finish out this gem. He got crap in the media for letting Weaver throw 125 pitches the other night, but he didn't back down to the public pressure and made the exact same decision by letting Haren pitch the ninth and finish the game with, you guessed it, 125 pitches thrown. The lesson? Pitch counts are for pansies.