Ryan Rowland-Smith, July 29

Q.  Only 6 K's in 14 innings, but he looks invincible.  How can that be?

A.  On July 29th, RRS took the Jarrod Washburn Sounder Train To 21 Outs.  Take out a sharpened #2 pencil, 'cause it's multiple choice time :- )


Rowland-Smith got 21 outs, 4 by strikeout.  Of the other 17 outs, how many were grounders?

1) 50%, same as his last game

2) 14

3) 3

4) I heard Dizzy Dean once got mad and told 7 fielders to sit down


The answer, of course, is 3).  Rowland-Smith induced 14 skied balls vs 3 grounders.

Jarrod Washburn has started 20 games, and except for one start against Detroit, his most EXTREME fly ball game was 12 fly balls vs 6 ground balls.   14:3 fly balls is simply outrageous.


He had a 7:2 vs Oakland earlier, too.  RRS has a 2:1 fly ball ratio on the year, compared to the 1.1 to 1 league average.


Q.  Are fly balls good?

A.  Check Jarrod Washburn's game logs.  His G:F ratio is fairly normal, except for July when he has skewed wildly to 67:42.  And his ERA was 1.44 in six starts!

The big park, the fleet OF's and the lefty curve balls are finally producing the synergy that we talked about when Washburn was first signed.

Tell you something else:  that Michael Saunders kid can carry the mail out there in LF.  He made two gorgeous catches during RRS' "no-hitter", and those were truly marginal balls that some other LF'er probably wouldn't have gotten.

If I hadn't been educated better, I'd say this Saunders guy covers more ground than Franklin Gutierrez doess.  ... at any rate, I got yer three CF's right here, pal.


OTOH, Rowland-Smith has given up 3 homers in those 14 July innings, too, and had another one or two pulled back.*   It's a dangerous game, the fly-ball-o-rama, and in games where he doesn't give up the HR's, it'll look great.

It's kind of like not buying car insurance.  You didn't get in a wreck all year, you're all smiles...

I'm not dissin' the lad.  Just sayin' that you might see (a) fast, easy wins ... spattered against (b) painful defeats marred by three-run homers.

Overall, lefty fly balls in Safeco are the way to go, of course, especially now with Saunders out there.


Q.  Was the stuff better than on the 24th?

A.   I thought he was a lot sharper.  The FB was crisper, the curve snapped even better.  And more to the point, I thought his deception was back to where it needs to be.

Sure enough, Brooksbaseball.net had his average FB velo as 88.3 on the 24th, vs. 89.4 on the 29th.

I thought the Indians were taking great swings all night, but the Jays were much less aggressive.  THIS start, I bought into.  RRS looked real good.

Say a good 80, 90% back to where he was in '07, when he was 10K a game in relief.


6 strikeouts in 14 innings is nothin' to stress over.  He can punch guys out.


Q.  Was the command better?

A.  Check the strike zone scatters at Brooks.  On the 24th, RRS threw five pitches that were 4.5 feet or more above the ground -- and a ton way below the zone.

But on the 29th, RRS threw only one high pitch that got away .... and count the total pitches below the zone!!  ... he didn't give up no 14 fly balls by no blinkin' accident.


Q.  Dr's Prognosis?

A.  Looks like the 24th was nerves.  

If RRS is going to execute these pitches going forward -- and we expect that he will -- then he should do great in Safeco.  All y'all were right about who was gonna win the #4 slot.

And keep Saunders in left, can'cha.  :- )


Dr D



...we were all wrong if the Ms do not trade Washburn.  IAN SNELL is the #4v starter. :)  But RRS makes a pretty tastey #5.


In one day we add two pieces to the 2010 rotation: the 90mph FB/70mph CB RRS (who had been MIA), and Snell (for whom we give up Clement who had, unfortunately, become a spare part).
And we've still got another guy with "near no-hitter" stuff down in Tacoma.  Since I've been making the Morrow/Joba comparisons here all along, I would point out that Joba is just now hitting his stride as a starter in the last month or so.


We may finally get what we've pretty much all wanted for the #4/5 SP slots. Namely, a number of guys that can be plugged in and out. Beane was able to do this in Oakland for a few years - back when he had the parts - and it was effective. Assuming Bedard can come back, the M's have Vargas, RRS, Snell and Morrow that can all start a game or ten in the 2009 #4/5 slots, with Olson and Jaku in the pen and available if you need them. Keep that Tacoma shuttle warmed up - I think the M's are going to use it a lot.


What do you expect from Snell, Matty, in 09 and in 010?


If you do like the way that Snell, Morrow, and RRS are throwing -- with some insurance from Vargas etc -- do you spend Washburn's $10-14M per on him, or on a bat?
It's tough.  Because you never go through a season with only 5 SP's ... but on the other hand, you don't want redundant SP's while your offense is running a 90 OPS+ ...

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