The jury is still out on the trade that brought Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins. It’s only May, after all. The newness of the season remains spring-like fresh, not summer stale.
But if the early evidence is to be trusted, it’s doubtful the Marlins are suffering from buyer’s remorse for giving up pitching prospect Andrew Heaney in exchange for Haren and Gordon in their offseason trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gordon raised his best-in-the-majors average to .437 by collecting three more hits, while Haren chalked up his team-leading fourth victory late Thursday as the Marlins handed the Giants a 7-2 loss at AT&T Park.
No one in their right mind expects Gordon to challenge the modern-day record for highest batting average, Nap Lajoie’s .426 clip in 1901.
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Or for Haren to end up a 20-game winner.
For now, though, they’re making the trade look like a good one for Miami.
“When you get traded, you always want to prove to the team they did you wrong,” said Haren, who has been traded four times in his big-league career. “I think Gordon feels pretty good about that.”
“The Dodgers paid me to go away, so …,” Haren said, smiling.
In order to complete the biggest trade of the winter for the Marlins, the Dodgers agreed to pick up Haren’s and Gordon’s salaries, a total of $12.5 million.
So far, the deal is paying off huge for the Marlins.
Gordon is on a tear of historic proportions. With 52 hits, he became the first player since Rod Carew in 1983 with at least that many hits in his first 28 games.
“Kind of hard to put yourself in that category,” Gordon said. “I’m just trying to help us win on a daily basis. That’s my main focus.”
And Haren, who was tagged as a “fifth starter,” has been their best starter so far.
On Thursday, Haren took a shutout into the seventh before the Giants were finally able to break through with two runs. But the Marlins had already built a 6-0 lead, racking up 15 hits against Tim Hudson. And two of those hits, including a two-out, two-run double in the second that put the Marlins on top, belonged to Haren.
They were the the most hits ever allowed by Hudson over his 463 career major-league starts. Had he given up one more hit, Hudson would have matched a Giants franchise record for a pitcher.
The Marlins, remember, weren’t even sure Haren wanted to play for them after he threatened retirement if he was traded away from the West Coast. But the pull of a $10 million paycheck was too great to pass up, and now Haren is showing no signs of being unhappy.
To the contrary.
He has only been the Marlins’ top starter so far, going 4-1 with a 2.68 ERA in six outings.
“I haven’t struck out too many guys this year,” said Haren, who whiffed only three batters on Thursday. “I’ve been fortunate, with the good defense we’ve had, to turn balls in play into outs. I didn’t walk anybody today. I didn’t walk anybody the last time. That’s what I’ve got to do. I’ve got to minimize base runners.”
Haren said he has noticed a change with Gordon, who was his teammate on the Dodgers last season. Gordon was selected to his first All-Star team with a strong first half but tailed off in the second half.
“He’s probably a little more confident,” Haren said. “But he’s having a lot of really good at-bats, and his defense has definitely taken a big step forward, too. It’s been fun to watch. He gets us going every day. He’s definitely the spark of the offense, and it’s been great watching him succeed like this.”
Thursday’s win was yet another for the Marlins at AT&T Park, where they’ve done well the past several years.
With their win on Thursday, the Marlins improved to 14-5 at AT&T Park since 2010, the season the Giants began their every-other-year run of World Series success.
“Our guys really like playing here for whatever reason,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It’s a great atmosphere. It’s cool, which is completely different for us. But it’s just a fun place to play.”