Haren gets another chance to get back on track on Saturday, when the Angels send him to the mound against the Tigers. But recent results aren't promising.
Haren has lost his last two starts, not making it through the fourth inning in either. He allowed 10 earned runs on 12 hits in seven innings over the two outings.
It's particularly discouraging for Haren and the Halos considering the two outings came after three straight quality starts -- perhaps a sign he had figured things out.
Not so much.
"I have to be better," Haren said after surrendering five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against Tampa Bay on Aug. 16. "It's kind of been a broken record for me. I've just been too inconsistent this season. I'll have a couple of good starts, and then I'll disappear for a while. I have to be more consistent. I have to give the team a better chance to win."
Haren has won three straight against Detroit, including two complete-game efforts in 2011, one of which was a shutout. But with an 8-10 record and a 4.90 ERA this season, 2011 seems like a long time ago.
"This has been one of the most frustrating stretches for me," he said.
Haren will start opposite Drew Smyly, whom the Tigers are counting on to stabilize their rotation in light of Doug Fister's groin injury.
Smyly's first Major League start since July 6 could be his only one before being sent back to Triple-A Toledo. But he could also start next Saturday against the White Sox, should Fister need more time to recover.
The left-hander went 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts for Detroit before hitting the disabled list and being optioned to Toledo.
"I'm glad they trust me," Smyly said. "Hopefully, I can go out and help the team, contribute, however they need me when they call on me."
Angels: Pujols hopes to return on Saturday
Albert Pujols missed his second straight game on Friday, but he's optimistic that he will be able to play in Saturday's game. The first baseman was held out of the lineup in the series opener after being removed from Wednesday's game against Boston because of pain in his right calf. An MRI performed on Thursday revealed no structural damage; he was diagnosed with inflammation in the calf.
Pujols entered Friday tied for the most home runs in the Major Leagues since May 6 (28).
"Today it feels better than yesterday and the day before," Pujols said. "It's a day to work out and react, and hopefully tomorrow I'll be ready to go."
Mike Trout is one home run shy of becoming the youngest player to ever hit 25 while stealing at least 40 bases in the same season. He would also be the first rookie to accomplish the feat. Trout also needs one more run to become the second Angels rookie to score 100. Devon White crossed home 103 times in 1987.
Tigers: Cabrera serves as DH
Detroit's head athletic trainer recommended that Miguel Cabrera be used as a designated hitter after leaving Thursday's game with soreness in his right ankle. So on Friday, manager Jim Leyland followed that advice, and Cabrera homered in the Tigers' loss to the Angels.
Cabrera suggested that he may be able to return to the field as soon as Saturday, but Leyland isn't against giving his MVP candidate a complete day off in the near future.
"You know what? That would be good for a controversial discussion," Leyland said. "If I give him a day off and I rest him, everybody will say, 'How can you do that in a pennant race?' But you know what? If I have to do it, I have to do it. And I don't know that I'll have to do it."
Omar Infante is a career .500 hitter against Dan Haren. He also carries a six-game hit streak into Saturday's game.
The Angels are 25-20 at Comerica Park since 2002, but Detroit has won 11 of the teams' last 17 meetings there.
A win on Saturday by the Angels would even the season series at three games each.