SAN FRANCISCO — The Cubs understood what they were getting when they acquired Dan Haren from the Miami Marlins in the final hours before the July 31 trade deadline.
If David Price or Cole Hamels didn’t make sense — or cost too much in terms of money and/or prospects — then the Cubs would get a dependable fifth starter who could get by with guts and intelligence.
“I really haven’t held up my end of the bargain,” Haren said after Thursday’s 9-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. “I feel worse about it than anybody.
“But you know what, the game isn’t stopping. We’ve got games left, and I can either whine and complain and feel sorry for myself or just move on and try to be better the next time.”
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Haren is now 1-2 with a 6.31 ERA through five starts in a Cubs uniform. He obviously doesn’t have the same blow-away stuff that helped him make three All-Star teams between 2007 and 2009. Or that much margin for error.
Haren regretted the 88-mph fastball ex-Cub Marlon Byrd drove over the center-field fence for a three-run homer in the third inning. That felt like game over with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound. Byrd now has four career homers against Haren, batting .417 (15-for-36) in that matchup.
“He’s hit me well in the past,” Haren said. “I struck him out the first at-bat. I fell behind 2-0 (there). Walking him had crossed my mind. But I was already laboring that inning. Obviously, in hindsight, I should have just wasted a pitch. It wasn’t that terrible of a pitch. But that guy’s had my number.”
Otherwise, Haren had enough to pitch into the seventh inning, allowing five runs as an ERA that had been at 3.42 when he left Miami has now crept up to 3.90.
“As advertised,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s going to give up some homers. You got to play some defense back there. He’s a consummate professional that’s going to give you innings.”
Haren will turn 35 in September and has been leaning toward retirement after this season. He called the Cubs a “first-class” organization and knows this is a unique opportunity to keep playing into October.
“I’ll do anything for this team,” Haren said. “I just want us to win. It’s been an amazing experience so far, and I hope to contribute a little more down the road.”