Donovan Hand (3.56 ERA, 4.60 FIP) isn't going to get any Rookie of the Year recognition (nor should he, really), but the 27-year-old in his first major league season is having a pretty good year all things considered. Hand originally came up as bullpen relief and played that role well. Asked to make a few spot starts along the way? Hand was surprisingly effective. Sort of.
Hand's 3.65 ERA as a starting pitcher is good, no doubt about that. I would have expected worse. Turns out, we can probably still expect worse if he continues to pitch like he has. As a starting pitcher, Hand has actually allowed an opponent OPS of .873. Basically, when Hand is a starting pitcher, players hit like Robinson Cano against him. How he still has an ERA below 4.00, I don't know. His BABIP is normal. He gives up a decent amount of hits. He just manages to get out of most innings before a run scores. That's pretty impressive, I guess.
Hand has not faced a Nationals hitter at least ten times.
On the other end of the spectrum is a guy who has been really good in the past, and who would have been expected to be good in the future, but who has not been good at all. Dan Haren (5.49 ERA, 4.59 FIP) was on my personal wishlist for the Brewers last offseason. He was only two years removed from a top-10 finish in AL Cy Young voting and his 2012 season really wasn't that bad.
Turns out it's a good thing the Brewers didn't chase him. The Nationals signed Haren to a one year, $13 million deal in the off season and they are not getting their money's worth. Haren has made 19 starts for the Nationals with a whopping seven quality starts. That's almost as many quality outings as he has starts where he gave up five or more runs (six of those).
Haren's strikeouts and walks are impeccable as ever. He has an 8.0 K/9 and a 1.6 BB/9 and is once again near the top of the leaderboard in K:BB ratio. However, if he doesn't make a batter miss odds are he's giving up a hit. His H/9 is above 10 and he has given up 21 homers already, tops in the National League (Kyle Lohse is second, by the way).
The good news for Haren is he has pitched much better on the road than he has at home. He has a 4.99 away ERA with a .800 opponents OPS. In Washington, he has a 6.08 ERA with a .862 opponent OPS.
Haren has only faced one Brewer at least ten times. He has actually faced Yuniesky Betancourt much more than 10 times. In 29 plate appearances, Betancourt has hit .407/.414/.407 against Haren. Yikes, Dan Haren.
Weeks 2B Aoki RF Segura SS Lucroy C Gomez CF Davis LF Bianchi 3B Betancourt 1B Hand P
Span CF Harper LF Zimmerman 3B Werth RF LaRoche 1B Desmond SS Rendon 2B Ramos C Haren P
In the bullpen: