The long ball is Dan Haren’s shortcoming.
A fly ball pitcher who has enjoyed his time at Marlins Park, where balls struck in the air tend to find leather for outs, Haren wasn’t as fortunate Friday at Petco Park.
Haren gave up three home runs — all solo shots — and they spelled the difference in the Marlins’ 3-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.
The setback brought a halt to the Marlins’ three-game winning streak. How they influence Haren’s trade value remains to be seen.
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“Very frustrating,” Haren said.
With plenty of scouts on hand to take a gander at Haren in advance of the July 31 trade deadline, the veteran hurler provided a glimpse of his one major flaw as a starter.
He’s no stranger to home runs.
Haren gave up a leadoff homer in the fourth to Brett Wallace before serving up back-to-back shots to Yonder Alonso and Matt Kemp on consecutive pitches in the fifth.
The Kemp homer was the one that bothered him most.
“I lost my focus there for a second and left one right in the middle up, over the middle of the plate,” Haren said. “It’s not like me to kind of lose it there.”
Haren has given up 20 home runs this season.
That’s the bad news. The good: 15 have come with the bases empty. In other words, Haren may be prone to the big hit. But he limits the damage.
“That’s where his experience comes in,” manager Dan Jennings said. “He knows how to minimize the damage. The old saying, solo homers don’t beat you, but tonight we couldn’t push across some of the runs when we had opportunities.”
The problem for Haren and the Marlins on Friday was that it was enough damage to inflict a loss on them, as the Marlins lineup was unable to compensate on its side of the scoring ledger.
The Marlins got their only run in the first after Ichiro Suzuki walked to start the game, stole second, and scored on Justin Bour’s two-out double.
After that, they went cold.
Padres starter Andrew Cashner shook off the first inning by following with six straight scoreless innings and then turning the ball over to the bullpen. Cashner gave up a leadoff triple to Cole Gillespie in the seventh but held him at bay by working out of it unscathed.
Other than the home runs, Haren gave his usual effort in what might have been his final start as a Marlin.
Haren is lined up to pitch next Friday, the day of the trade deadline.
But he and Mat Latos, who is scheduled to start Sunday for the Marlins, are set to become free agents after the season and not in Miami’s future plans. As such, they’re being actively shopped and could be dealt at any time.
Earlier Friday, the Marlins began the process of trimming the roster of such players, trading reliever Steve Cishek to the Cardinals for a minor-league reliever.
More deals could develop in the coming days.
The Marlins have kept Haren in the loop on any trade discussions involving him.
“It’s not my first time I’ve gone through this,” Haren said. “It’s not fun for anybody. But that’s baseball. We get paid a lot of money, and if I’ve got to go somewhere else, I’ve got to go somewhere else. I don’t really have any control over it. It’s like turbulence on a plane. Nothing you can do.”