It seems likely that the A's will lose Barry Zito later this year, and with Rich Harden on the DL, who will the A's rely on to anchor the rotation?
Dan Haren and Barry Zito are currently tied at fourth in the AL for innings pitched (161.2 so far). In those innings, Zito has allowed 151 hits, 70 runs (67 earned), walked 71, and struck out 111. In the same number of innings, Haren has also allowed 151 hits, but only 68 runs (66 earned), walked 33, and struck out 123. Oh, and Haren did that in one fewer game.
I knew Haren was doing great, but I didn't realize just how great. This isn't just Zito we're comparing him to, but a Zito who is supposedly in his old Cy Young form! Note the walk column: while tying Zito for hits allowed, Haren has walked less than half of the number of batters Zito walked, and struck out 12 more. The fact that all this translated only to 2 fewer runs allowed leads me to believe that more of Haren's hits are RISP hits, or he gives up more bases per hit.
Obviously, it's going to hurt to lose a great pitcher (and by accounts, a leader) like Zito. I'm just pleasantly surprised how far along Haren has come. Earlier today Joe Blanton just turned in his fourth straight quality start for a career-high 13 wins, and it's just August. The A's starting rotation is still in trouble with a wobbly number four and no obvious number five, but there are many reasons to be happy for the "kids" who are blossoming this year.
You can't spell August without A, indeed.
edit: Sorry, Zito has struck out 111, Haren has struck out 123, which is 12 more, than 40 more.