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Friday, April 1, 2011
It's a new day... Isn't it?

By Mark Saxon

Dan Haren
Dan Haren again pitched well for the Angels but didn't get the run support necessary for a victory.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They want things to be different. If they keep saying they are, will they be?

Two games into the 2011 season, some of the plagues of 2010 have come marching back into the picture.

Dan Haren is still pitching well and the Angels aren’t scoring any runs for him. Nobody has any idea what the bullpen’s going to do on a given night. Angels base runners get to second or third base and might as well lie down and take a nap. They’re not going anywhere.

Ah, but it’s still spring. Far too early for such hum-buggery, right?

“It’s a two-game sample size,” manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals, the result of Kila Ka-aihue’s walk-off home run against reliever Michael Kohn. “Let these guys get their feet on the ground and we’ll evaluate this as we move along.”

Scioscia says the Angels have a deeper offense. That might be true when Kendrys Morales returns. It might even be true now, but so far the evidence has been scant. The Angels have batted 18 times with a runner at either second or third base and come up with three hits.

Being a starting pitcher in Anaheim was a chore last season and Haren and Jered Weaver didn’t exactly enjoy relaxing first days on the job. The bullpen wobbled through Thursday’s finishing innings and the offense relentlessly failed to score against Jeff Francis and two Kansas City relievers Friday.

“We had a rough offensive night,” was how Scioscia put it.

Haren wasn’t about to start casting blame after the first of 33 or so starts, but he's got to be wondering about these hitters with whom he shares a clubhouse. After the Angels acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks last July, he had a 2.87 ERA in 14 starts and went just 5-4. He lost his first game with the Angels 1-0. He lost his second game with the Angels 2-1. Sound familiar?

“I’m not really thinking about that,” Haren said. “I try to stay more in the present day.”

Maybe that’s good advice for Angels fans, but it’s hard when the present feels so much like the past.