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Dan Haren makes a somewhat pivotal start

4/22/2012

ANAHEIM -- The Angels finally won consecutive games with Saturday night's victory over Baltimore.

Now, for them to avoid sinking into an intimidating early hole in the AL West, they have to get hot. To accomplish that is probably going to take a hot streak from the strength of their team, the starting pitching.

Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson have been themselves thus far. Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have not. For Santana, the issue has been a familiar one, home runs. He has allowed six, tied for most in the American League.

Haren's issues have been more subtle. Going into his fourth start Sunday, he hasn't found his good stuff yet. He has allowed 25 hits and four home runs in just 17 innings. That's nearly 1.5 hits per inning pitched, well above his .88 rate last season. Opponents are hitting .347 off him.

Getting Haren and Santana going is of paramount importance to the Angels, perhaps more important than Albert Pujols hitting that first home run.

"Dan has shown when he's not quite as crisp, he still gets it done," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's not so much throwing the ball hard as location and the crispness of his pitches. I think it's the ability to go out there and pitch well. His stuff, it'll be there."

Here is the lineup Haren will have behind him, the 14th lineup in 16 games:

Erick Aybar SS

Howie Kendrick 2B

Albert Pujols DH

Torii Hunter RF

Mark Trumbo 1B

Vernon Wells LF

Alberto Callaspo 3B

Bobby Wilson C

Peter Bourjos CF