Since returning from the disabled list on July 8 Dan Haren has been a markedly better pitcher. The difference is striking.

He was diagnosed with shoulder stiffness and administered a cortisone shot but if you ask Haren the problem wasn’t physical. The drastic improvement is simply a change in approach. He is more conservative with his pitches and focuses on keeping the ball low.

It sounds simple but whatever it’s working.

“I’m definitely happier with the way I’m throwing than I was a month ago” he said. “Before I went on the DL it was a mixture of making a few bad pitches a little bit of bad luck. Now I’m just more focused on keeping the ball down keeping the defense in the game.”

Since facing the Phillies in his July 8 return Haren has held a 2.30 ERA with 42 strikeouts and ten walks in 43 total innings. He went to the DL with a 6.15 season ERA it’s now 4.82.

Haren continued his resurgence on Thursday with six innings of one-run ball allowing just three hits and two walks. He battled through a 27-pitch first inning with the bases loaded to make it six salvaging what at first looked like a regression to his early season self.

Haren’s sole costly mistake was a home run to Brandon Belt but given it was a solo shot he’ll take it.

“I had a couple of walks but they didn’t burn me” he said. “The solo homer that’s no big deal there. I definitely didn’t have my best stuff but I made it work.”