Record doesn't illustrate Haren's Cy-worthiness

Updated: July 1, 2009

Al Bello/Getty Images

Arizona's Dan Haren is only 7-5 this year, but he leads the NL in ERA, WHIP and innings pitched.

This week marks the halfway mark of the season, so it's time to pick the halfway Cy Youngs.

And we saw a lot of former Cy Young winners on the mound this week. On Tuesday alone, there were five honorees on the mound across the majors. But those are past winners. What about this year?

Kansas City's Zack Greinke is pretty obvious. He leads the majors in earned run average (1.95); in fact, he's the only one who still has an ERA lower than 2.00. He's tied for the most wins in baseball with 10, and this on a last-place club with bullpen issues. He has had but two non-quality starts.

Even with the way Greinke has dominated so far this season, though, the best pitcher at this point in the year is Arizona's Dan Haren, who beat the Reds on Tuesday by striking out nine and allowing just one run over seven innings. Cy Young winners usually have to run up big numbers, which Haren probably would have done if his team had played better and his bullpen not underachieved. His 7-5 record would be 11-1 with a whole bunch of other teams.

Dan Haren

Starting Pitcher
Arizona Diamondbacks

Profile

2009 Season Stats
GM W L BB K ERA
16 7 5 15 113 2.19

These are the facts: Haren leads the NL in ERA at 2.19; he's second in all of baseball, trailing only Greinke. He is by far the leader in quality starts, with 15 of 16. His 0.81 WHIP is sick, as is his 7.5-1 strikeout-walk ratio. The 0.81 WHIP is the only one in baseball under 1.00; Greinke is next at 1.02. The OPS against him is .533, which means that the average batter against him is doing just a little less than Brian Bixler.

The Diamondbacks have to figure out the best plan to get Brandon Webb healthy, and whether to pick up his option for 2010, and Webb has to figure out the best course for his future. (It was announced Wednesday that Webb would not have shoulder surgery and that he hopes to return in September).

Arizona knows it is out of it for this season, so the D-backs will look to see what they can get for Doug Davis, Felipe Lopez, Jon Rauch, Tony Pena, Chad Qualls and others, and will allow their extraordinary young players such as Justin Upton reboot the franchise.

Meanwhile, they will need to try to score enough to keep Haren in the Cy Young chase.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: June 30 | June 29 | June 28 | June 25 | June 24

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
NAME HR OPPPITCHER SITUATION
L. Scott, Bal15BosBeckettBot 2: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.
M. Cuddyer, Min12KCMecheTop 2: 0-0, 0 Outs. None on.
T. Wigginton, Bal6BosBeckettBot 4: 1-0, 0 Outs. None on.
R. Barajas, Tor8TBShieldsBot 7: 0-2, 1 Outs. None on.
C. Ross, Fla14WasBurnettBot 7: 3-2, 0 Outs. None on.

The complete list of Wednesday's homers

ON DECK: THURSDAY'S BEST MATCHUPS

Phillies at Braves, 7 p.m. ET

The trip to Atlanta hasn't gone all that well for the Phillies. They lost the series opener Tuesday in 10 innings. On Wednesday, they couldn't figure out Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who flirted with a no-hitter and ended up giving up only one hit over seven innings in Atlanta's win. J.A. Happ tries to help the Phillies escape the sweep.

Giants at Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. ET

Barry Zito hasn't been going deep into games -- he has gone more than 5 2/3 innings only once in his past five starts -- but he has been mostly effective, going 3-1 with a no-decision over that stretch.

Orioles at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

Although he did not win his last time out, John Lackey did have his best outing since coming off the disabled list. He allowed five hits and one run over seven innings and struck out nine in a no-decision of a 2-1 win against the Diamondbacks.

For the rest of Thursday's schedule, click here.

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BBTN ON THE AIR: THURSDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10 p.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Eric Young, Buster Olney, Fernando Vina
12 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Eric Young, Buster Olney, Fernando Vina

BBTN MINUTE: ONE MORE ALL-STAR

WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST

BEST
WainwrightAdam Wainwright might not have gotten the win in the Cardinals' 10-inning victory against the Giants, but that cannot diminish his performance. Wainwright allowed one run over nine innings, striking out 12 in a 122-pitch effort.
WORST
Hamels• While Jair Jurrjens was flirting with a no-hitter against the Phillies, his opponent, Cole Hamels, was getting hit … hard. Hamels allowed nine hits and seven runs in only four innings of work in Philadelphia's 11-1 loss. It was Hamels' third straight loss.

WEB GEMS

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Javier Vazquez Atlanta Braves right-hander Javier Vazquez is 5-7 this season, but the won-loss record doesn't indicate how well he actually has pitched this year. He has 125 strikeouts (second in the NL entering Wednesday,) and his 23 walks are tied for sixth-fewest among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .227 against Vazquez this season, lower than the .258 NL average. He's averaging 6.2 innings pitched per start.

Vazquez's success comes from his work with his off-speed pitches. His off-speed pitches rate well above the league average in terms of opponent batting average, slugging percentage, swing-and-miss percentage and chase percentage.

Vazquez and the Braves complete a series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, and the Phillies are hitting .221 and slugging .373 against non-fastballs this year, both around the league average.

Javier Vazquez
Non-fastballs (2009)
Vazquez NL avg.
BA against .181 .224
SLG against .249 .350
Miss pct. 36.9 30.1
Chase pct. 33.2 29.6

-- ESPN Stats & Information

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF THURSDAY'S GAMES

Fantasy AJ Mass examines the nine games on Thursday's slate.

Mass ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Thursday. Daily Notes