Thursday, June 25, 2009

FINALLY! M’s Washburn Gets a Little Help from His Friends

Jarrod Washburn has worked hard over the last offseason to perfect his changeup, and the results have been impressive.  He is throwing it far more often (sometimes as much as 25% of his pitch-count), and with better location (down) and movement than ever before.  His breaking ball is moving more and his fastball is a couple miles per hour faster than last year, and his control is much improved.  This translates into a drop of over 1 run per nine innings in ERA, dramatically fewer walks and homeruns given up dropping in half over last season. 

Washburn has always been a ‘hard-luck’ pitcher – a guy for which the team scores runs rarely.  Numerous times in his career he has been a league leader in fewest runs scored by his team – last year he was near the bottom all year with the M’s scoring less than 3 runs on average.  He also has routinely lead his team in save opportunities blown – that is to say, when he leaves the game with the lead his bullpen gives up the lead and the game more often for him than any other starter.  In fact, he lead the league last year with 7 blown leads.  He also has a very high number of 1-0 and 2-1 losses last season and this season.  Last year Washburn had the lowest run support in the American League and tied for the highest number of blown saves (7) in the MLB.

Hard luck?  The hardest.  in every way that a guy can get poor support from his teammates, Washburn has been the unhappy recipient of such poor support.  Poor hitting,scoring few runs, the bullpen blowing saves…Washburn has been snake bit in each way by his Mariners teammates. 

So, it was nice today to see the M’s jump all over San Diego pitching for 9 runs, beginning right away with Ichiro’s solo shot to lead off the game, followed by Rob Johnson’s two-out, three-run double scoring Beltre, Sweeney and Gutierrez.  Washburn often doesn’t see the team score 4 runs in a game he starts, let alone the first inning.  And, it doesn’t hurt his feelings to be pitching so well in a contract season, nor does it hurt the M’s feelings to see his value increase as the trade season heats up.

Box score for SD v. M's (June 25) - SD 3, M's 9

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Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
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