ANAHEIM -- Angels right-hander Daren Haren has been uncharacteristically off his game so far this season. After giving up four runs in six innings in a 5-0 loss to the Athletics on Monday, the Angels' No. 2 starter is 1-4 with a 4.41 ERA and has failed to notch a quality start in four of his first eight outings. Last time out, en route to giving up five runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Twins, Haren reported tightness in his lower back.
This time, he felt fine. He just didn't have good stuff. "My command wasn't there," Haren said. "I was nibbling a little bit around the plate, got into some bad counts. I have to be better than that. That's the bottom line. I am better than that. I'll come out of this rut stronger. I know I'm a better pitcher than this; just have to make the proper pitches and execute." Haren, among baseball's most consistent pitchers over the previous seven years, amazingly went through the 2011 season with less walks (33) than starts (34). But after issuing four on Monday (one of which was intentional), he now has 13 walks in his first eight starts and 10 in a 24 2/3-inning span. "That's not me," Haren said. "I'm an aggressive pitcher; I attack the zone. I'm usually able to throw strikes with all my pitches, and today I just wasn't. I fell behind too many times."